Monday, August 17, 2015

3 Things I Love in a Good Story // Olivia

from Olivia

1. “My Kind” of Writing Style

I say my kind because what one person may term stupendous writing is not necessarily what “does it” for another. A good example of that would be Jane Austen. I’m not saying the woman wasn’t an excellent author, but I don’t personally care for her books because her writing style, at least that which I’ve so far experienced, doesn’t appeal to me. I like writing that is rich; vibrant with description and insight. I appreciate those “aha” moments in reading when I’ve been plodding steadily along, and bam! The author throws in some unique turn of phrase to express a universal, age-old truth in an empathetic new way. I love the expressions of senses—colorful natural vistas, the connection between music and the soul of the player/hearer, the feel of a blanket, etc. That being said, I do not like three-page-long accounts of either endless walking or of describing a single scene or of soliloquizing a character’s mental processes. Because those can get tedious, dontcha know. ;) 

2. Humor 

This rather ties into the first point, since it’s another thing I look for in writing. I prefer subtle humor, humor that either comes or goes so quickly that it takes you a couple minutes to realize how funny it actually was, or humor that is half-concealed under wry sarcasm or period-appropriate dialect. We all need a laugh now and then, right? :) 

3. Good Relationships 

They can be friend-to-friend, lover-to-lover, parent-to-child, whatever, but relationships are such an important component of a good story; I think everyone would agree. I’d rather read about relationships that are going to end happily for all parties (because Reasons), but a tragic bond, if well-crafted, can also be so compelling and instructive (i.e. Rebecca and Brian de Bois-Guillbert in one of my favorites, Ivanhoe). If an author truly understands human interaction (or animal interaction; not invalidating those stories!), he or she can gain a vast audience because of the natural empathy that their writing evokes—the feeling, as William Goldman put it, that someone else realizes that yeah, life isn’t always fair. “It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”

Note from Heidi: Thanks so much for sharing today, Olivia! :)

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Would you like to share three of your favorite things in a guest post? You don’t have to be a writer to qualify! This series is by story lovers for story lovers.
For post specifics/guidelines you can see the initial post here, then send Heidi a quick email at ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com. Don’t be shy. I’d love to have you!


  1. I like this! Particularly #1.

  2. This is lovely, Olivia! I do know what you mean about Jane Austen--I personally love her novels on account of the characters and plots, but no, her writing style isn't my favorite. Except, that is, for her last novel, "Persuasion." There, you do have some truly beautiful writing. But as far as style goes, my favorite author is and always will be G.K. Chesterton :)

    Speaking of humor--are you a Wodehouse fan by any chance?

    1. Thank you, Jessica! Yep, I love Jane Austen's plots, which is why I lurve watched the movie adaptations, but I'm just not nuts about her writing:) G. K. Chesterton! I haven't read a lot of him, but what I did read (Favorite Father Brown Stories) were really good.

      Ohhhhh, yes. Wodehouse is BRILLIANT. How does he even craft those dialogues?! :D

  3. Loved your points, Olivia! I totally agree with you on the first point-except for not loving Jane Austen and her style. I do love her stories Very Very Much. :) I can see why her writing style wouldn't be your favorite. I just think it fits her so well, though!

    I had to smile at how you described "your kind" of writing style--now I know why you like LOTR so much! It fit into your description perfectly. :)

    Actually, all three of your points fit LOTR. But anyways, great list!! :D

    1. Natalie, thanks! Heehee, I love her stories, too, but so far I haven't really liked her writing itself. However, I do plan to read several more of her stories, so perhaps that'll change:D And I did love basically everything about Pride and Prejudice...except the characters, but AHEM. We won't go into that;D

      Yes! Haha, well, ya know;) It is definitely a big influence, hehe. (And I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you're reading the trilogy. You don't even know:D)

      Thanks again!

  4. Nice list! I know what you mean about "my style" of writing -- many of the books I love have a similar flavor too. Something that makes me feel all warm and safe and happy when I read them.

    1. Thank you, Hamlette! "Something that makes me feel all warm and safe and happy when I read them"--YES. That is perfect. And exactly how I feel, too. Even if it's a tragedy, something about my favorites seem to make me feel safe and warm, like you described.

    2. Not all tragedies make me sad, so yup, I'm right there with you.

    3. Exactly! Sometimes tragedies are just a more gentle kind of sorrow that doesn't necessarily leave one sad.


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