Last week we discussed writing vs. storytelling and parsed out how it’s often the storytelling and not the sentence-to-sentence prose that is drawing people in when a book is extremely popular.
Let’s imagine two sliding scale spectrums:
0-10 on the writing scale
And 0-10 on the storytelling scale
10 writing, 0 storytelling would be experimental fiction and other prose-centric musings without much/any story.
0 writing, 10 storytelling would be novels where the story is fantastic but the prose is basically indistinguishable from another book or otherwise not very strong.
Everything in between would each be a combination of strengths. For instance, 7 writing/10 storytelling would be well-written edge-of-the-seat genre fiction, 10 writing/10 storytelling would be a book that melds beautiful (if challenging) prose with expert plotting, and 10 writing/6 storytelling would finely wrought novels where we mainly admire the writing.
So. How important is writing vs. storytelling to you? Which is more important to you when you choose a book? Do you have a sweet spot? Do you gravitate toward a certain combination of writing and storytelling? Do you have limits?
Speaking personally, my favorite books are close to 10/10, but as long as the storytelling is great I’m very willing to skimp on the writing scale. I can’t do less than about a 5 or 6 on storytelling no matter how good the writing is.
What about you?