RARA-AVIS: Writing is Greatly Overrated; It's the story that counts.

From: Jack Bludis ( buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 27 Oct 2007

A reply to Patrick and William, and a comment on Henry James:

In the argument of whether Character or Story is more important, I have been converted to the school that says, neither works without the other, although some pretty popular works have made it with cardboard characters. Good writing, I still contend, is not a necessary quality for a good book, but it's nice if it's there.

The idea that really bad writing can work? I'm afraid it can. Clive Cussler tells some pretty good, over-the-top, poorly-styled, fantastic stretches of story. His characterization isn't so hot either, but he drags you along.

Now, that doesn't make Clive Cussler great, any more than THE DA VINCI CODE is a great book.

On Hemingway? I think his most underrated book is TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, which is far different from the movie. A MOVABLE FEAST, struck me as an old man trying to get even with everyone who ever wronged him.

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, a great story, but about twice as long as it should be.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, look how good I can write, the master said. (Another book twice as long as it should be.) These are all long-held opinions.

Cooper or James? I'll take the adventure of Cooper over the introspection of James.

ULYSSES might be one of my favorite books of all time, and I do think there is a story, just like I think the movie O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU was a pretty good story. Yep, we can give credit to Homer on both counts.

I'm procrastinating on my WIP, now I'd better get back to work and try not to look at mail again until sometime Sunday evening.

Jack Bludis

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