I’m not into literary fiction. In fact, I must confess my own prose isn’t amazing.
But something I’ve noticed is that a lot of popular writers don’t have lyrical prose either. I’m currently reading A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr (about half-way through), and I wouldn’t describe his writing style as a fantastic new voice in speculative fiction.
Yet, I’m enjoying the book.
Which led me to ask the question why.
It’s quite simple actually. I want someone to tell me an entertaining story. I want to read a book that makes me wonder what’s going on, what makes this world tick, and what’s going to happen.
Now, some would say you can’t do that unless you follow certain rules, etc. That’s probably true most of the time. But in the end, a bunch of brilliant prose with an uninteresting story doesn’t appeal to me.
Are characters important? I’d be a fool to say no. But I still think they’re secondary to the journey that character goes on and the world they live in.
In trying to figure out why I’m enjoying A Cast of Stones, I examined two other books I recently enjoyed. Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan and The Crown and the Tower by Michael J. Sullivan.
Sullivan has amazing characters, but McClellan doesn’t in my opinion. They’re morally blurry, and I wasn’t really cheering for them.
But his story world is super unique (gunpowder fantasy). And the story that’s being told is one I want to hear even if I’m not big on the characters.
I feel the same way about A Cast of Stones. The main character is a drunk. There’s not much that’s appealing to him. However, the author leaves so many pieces of popcorn that make me want to know about the story world and the unfolding plot.
Which keeps me reading with anticipation. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as writers?