Monday, September 17, 2007

On Writing . . .

Resist the temptation to try to use dazzling style to conceal weakness of substance.

- Stanley Schmidt

Great content will shine through the veil of mediocre prose, but great writing cannot hide the stench of a bad story.

- Dayle James Arceneaux.

I figured I'd try to come up with one of these quotes. What do you think?


Nicole said...

I see what you're saying, but "great writing" would indicate a great story to me.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Nicole, I certainly won't argue against your definition, but I think there is a difference.

Maybe I should have used the word great writing style.

But, for the sake of this post, consider the following:

I once read a novel by an author who will remain nameless. His narrative style was beautiful and smooth, but the plot and the characters were flat.

It was certainly a plus that he is such a good writer, but I didn't feel compelled to read his other work, because of the lack of a good story. I did, however, write him and tell him how much I admired his writing ability.

Ted Dekker on the other hand is kind of an awkward writer. Certainly not beautiful or smooth, but what a great story teller. I have read 10 of his novels and counting.

Nicole said...

The addition of "style" would've clarified it for me--but I got your point, and I agree.

Haven't yet gone down the Dekker road. Personal favorites (males) are Peretti, Liparulo, Morrisey, Singer, Alcorn, Whitlow, and I enjoyed newcomer's Austin Boyd's trilogy, which is completely out of character for me--definitely not a sci-fi or fantasy fan. The authenticity of Austin's work was compelling.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Nicole: I think you're right. Not bad for my first try though. Writing great quotes ain't easy.

Liparulo is a fantastic writer. There's almost too much action. Peretti's good too.

If you haven't read House yet, the Peretti/Dekker collaboration, it's definitely worth the read.

If you do decide to travel down that Dekker road, I recommend Three (which is brilliant), Blink, and the Circle trilogy.

Nicole said...

I have read House. Unfortunately, I know the plot of Three, so I probably won't read that one, but I'll keep the others in mind.

Not bad at all--at least I got your point. :)

donna fleisher said...

I like the line, "If you can't impress them with brilliance, baffle them with bull#*%&."

Yeah, not very enlightening, huh. Sorry.

; )

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I forgot about that one, Donna. I implement it on a daily basis at work.

It's their fault, by the way. How dare they not be impressed by my brilliance. They deserve my bull#*%.

Nicole, I assume you saw the movie. It's true, if you know the reveal, the book won't read as powerful.

Nicole said...

I read the review(s) of the movie which gave away the plot.

Jerry Pat Bolton said...

Great quote you came up with! (Can I quote you?) LOL

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

That's what my fragile ego wanted to hear, Jerry.

I'll take the standard royalty fee.

Janet Rubin said...

i like your quote mr. dayle. story, story, story. so important. i'm so excited to start writing. had a good conference? i did!

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Janet, I had a great conference. I got to meet the third place winner of the Genesis award.