Over at Writer Unboxed, Dave King advises us all to embrace the power to make things happen in our books and stories. Beauty in the writing is grand, yes. But the level of satisfaction — more important, the attraction to readers — rests upon things happening.
It’s so easy to go the other direction and make the world’s most exquisite sentences, paragraphs, the nuance of metaphor and simile dancing across our pages. You need good prose. But to grab readers you need a story — told through events we see, then seeing a character’s reactions to those actions.
King says, about one beautiful New Yorker story
In short, nothing happens. It does it quite beautifully, but . . .
I understand why some people might love quality characterization and beautiful writing so much that they’re willing to read a story for these pleasures alone. But most readers need something more to keep them going. They want to hope that something good – or fear that something bad – will happen to characters they care about. They want to watch those characters take action to change their fates. They want to be surprised.
They want plot.
This hunger for plot is, I think, one reason comics and YA fiction, and the movies based on them, are so popular. The best practitioners of these arts know and value the power of story, and one of the best of these is Joss Whedon. He’s the force behind the current revival of the Marvel Universe (The Avengers, the Agents of Shield), but the work I know him for best is the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
He goes on with specific praise for Whedon, one of the great storytellers of our time. Have a look at the article at Unboxed to see more.
Include action. Great books are plot plus story. Make readers want to pass along your book, and tell a friend how much fun it was to experience