I have spent the past six months slowly wading through McKee's book, STORY. It was written for film script writers, but touches on novel and playwriting forms. It points out what each medium does best.
It is also about the very best book, tactically speaking, on the essence of STORY. Swain's book will show you how to form the writing if you have an idea....this book shows you PRECISELY how to craft your idea - or test if your idea holds water.
It hits very accurately on the mechanics of story, and if you're not the sort to fall too hard into trying to logic your creativity, it is quite a valuable book. Helps you to understand just why a scene works so explosively well, or pinpoint why it feels too dry.
A nice diagnostic tool IF you are ALREADY impelled to write....a mess of intellectual rules, if you haven't yet tapped your source of creativity for your self.
It did raise an interesting point of discussion, though - the premise being that Anything that wasn't story was disposable. That appreciation of language or elegance of style was only a diversion.
That seems to be a going trend or theme - and one I don't necessarily agree with....though the bestseller list would argue me down quite loudly.
If there is power in words, how much more so if they are also used with beauty, wit, and creativity???
Anybody seen this book? Any writers out there curious?
I haven't seen the book but it sounds like the "all adverbs are evil" trend I run into all the time. I suppose I didn't like Hemmingway enough to want to emulate his dry, bare bones style. I love words, the way they flow and fall off the tongue. They have a music to them that makes the story and the world you are creating so much more real. I can see cutting scenes that don't do anything to forward plot or charater development, but to cut all elegance and style out of the writing would take a huge chunk of fun out of reading for me.
And that's the reader and the writer talking ;-)
I have to wonder if this is based on what a story does for the reader. What quality of the story does the reader most appreciate? Is the it the journey or the arrival that most readers are interested in today?
That appreciation of language or elegance of style was only a diversion.
Interesting.... I don't feel story can exist in a vacuum with no language or style, but I'm just a reader, what do I know ;)