Home Forums Forum: Literature Q & A What is more essential to story-telling, prose [style] or plot? Reply To: What is more essential to story-telling, prose [style] or plot?

MJ Booklover

Hello! This is a great question for discussion, so much debated by fiction readers as long as written tales have been an art form. Everyone loves a good plot, of course, but I think several of my articles have made the argument for the importance of style over plot as an artistic element. Indeed, many of the novels now considered classic haven’t made that list for their plot lines but for their prose style, artistry, and quality of thought. Readers who read the great works for plot alone will miss most of the “good stuff”–the real value–of reading many of the great novels.

I like your list of examples where style is more important and enjoyable than plot–I have read Lolita and The Remains of the Day, and think they make your point well. Haven’t read The Sirens of Titan. Examples that come to my mind are books like Moby Dick or Tristram Shandy. If you read those for plot alone, you won’t get much for your time, because at least 3/4 of the words in each are concerned with other things than advancing plot–but what things! And how magnificently, or at least interestingly, said.

Would love to hear others weigh in. Hope they will find this thread.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by MJ Booklover.