I was already thinking about this when Beth Kephart blogged about it: how much I've come to appreciate beautifully written prose. Plot reigns in the world of novels, and probably it should. More than anything, readers long for something to happen. Many writers have been forgiven less-than-stellar turns of phrase for the sake of a juicy story.
I'm finding that I want more than a good story. I also want the words
to cast a spell. When the writer has carefully chosen every word, the
world-building becomes seamless. I'm enchanted, immersed. I trust the
author to lead me anywhere.
I recently read a book that boiled
over with drama and conflict. It should have been more fun than it was.
But poor word choices kept jolting me out of the story: cliches,
repetition, telling what should have been shown. Characters did and said
things that made no sense. I could see the cracks in the scenery.
In The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading,
Phyllis Rose criticized writing that was too poetic. Writing that was
overdone, at time obscure, trying too hard to impress. She praised
clear, concise writing. And I know what she's talking about. I don't
want poetic gymnastics that go nowhere. I don't want a writer to show
off, leaving in all her "darlings" at the expense of the story.
more and more, I appreciate the writer who presents me with a
dream-world so tightly woven that I can inhabit it fully, with all five
senses. I search for the skilled, the exacting, the vivid, the original,