Good writing versus beautiful writing: Is there a difference?
Since December, I've been writing—every waking minute and some not-so-waking minutes—but this fall I took some time off writing to read. A lot. I caught up on everything I’d been wanting to read this last year but didn’t because I was absorbed with my own characters. I found some new favorite authors and read a few lemons. But, as I was doing all this reading, I was struck with something. Some authors take a lot of words to say something very simple. This isn't meant as a criticism, but an observation.
I tend to lean toward simplicity in my writing and truly believe that the author should be invisible. Two novels I've read in the last six months where this was the case were If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
I love the way they write. Their styles, though very different, resonate with me. Simple and beautiful. Along with Jay Asher, John Green and a handful of others, they’re some of the least obtrusive writers I’ve ever read, meaning their words never distracted me from the story. And they had me crying, I don’t know, like twenty times.
That said, my favorite authors are still Melissa Marr and Kristin Cashore, who tend to be slightly more literary. I catch myself thinking about the writing while reading their books, but only enough to say to myself, holy cannoli, I wish I could write like that, and never enough to pull me out of the story. It's a very fine line.
There are some beautifully written stories out there that are sometimes too beautifully written. I know it sounds crazy, but if the prose is so beautiful that I start thinking about the prose, I’m no longer living the story. As a writer, I’m thinking that’s not such a good thing.
Am I wrong? Is there a difference between a well written story and a beautifully written story?
USA Today bestselling author of the New Adult A LITTLE TOO FAR series, courtesy of HarperCollins. The young adult PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy from Macmillan is available now. For questions regarding rights, please contact my omnipotent uberagent, Suzie Townsend, at New Leaf Literary & Media Representation at suzie(at)newleafliterary.com.
A LITTLE TOO HOT (ALTF #3)
When 21 yo Samantha West takes a job as an exotic dancer out of desperation, her first private client makes her want to break all the rules, but his secret will probably get her killed. Barnes & Noble,iBooks,Amazon