Plot, character,writing style – or story?

In the writing world there is always much discussion about whether plot or character is more important. Proponents of both sides can make a compelling case by using examples that illustrate their point of view.  There are also those that who maintain that writing style is more important.  Many who take this view cringe at some – maybe much – of commercial fiction that makes the best seller lists.  Certainly, some of the worst writing can be found in books on the best seller lists.
 
I think worthwhile writing begins and ends with the story.  What is a story?  One definition is that a story is, “… a narrative designed to interest, amuse or instruct the reader.”  A story must first of all be interesting. A good story is often told, instead of read.  Some of the best stories I have come across in my work are those in which I interviewed someone and was told a story.  Such stories were not necessarily well-told, nor did they have a plot or were focused on character.  They were simply interesting.  
 

A great story has all of the elements.  It is interesting, it is about character, it is about plot and it is written in a beautiful style.
 
 
I mention all of this to say that I am about to go to see  “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo,” the American film version of the book by Steig Larson.  Larson’s writing style has been widely criticized. Even his characters and plot have been discussed negatively.  And yet the book has sold millions, and is as of this writing the number one all-time seller on the Amazon Kindle sales list.  How can this be?  I think it is obvious.  It is a good story.
 
I’ll post a review of the movie in the next couple of days.
 
Happy writing!
 

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