Content Vs. Style in Writing

It seems to me that there can be said to be two primary aspects, roughly speaking, that go into any form of writing, but especially fiction writing. First, there is content, which includes everything to plot, to scenery, to dialogue and character development. Then there is style, which refers to how the language is being used in creative ways to express something. Many writers seem to have one down solidly, while the other side suffers. Who are some writers you think do one of these (or both) especially well, and how important to you think each aspect is to creating good fiction writing?

  • This one's tough. Usually people don't have acclaim for solely doing one aspect well. When I think of style I think of Hemingway and how many sought to mimic his writing for generations to come. And then there's Stephanie Meyers, who people say is a terrible writer with no style, but somehow she creates content that is wildly appealing to a huge audience. Dan Brown might be someone who has content (plot) down, but no style to speak of. – Nate OcĂ©an 6 years ago
  • I have definitely encountered this in recent novels. The novel that I am currently reading seems to favour common tropes and lacks fluidity in the writing itself but the plot is constantly moving, hooking me in and forcing me to finish the book. It would be interesting to highlight writers that do both well and try to explain how they manage it. – ReidaBookman 6 years ago
  • This seems to be an idea based around rhetoric. I wonder if the two can be mutually exclusive. Since style is the way a writer uses language, if literary devices such as plot, symbolism, dialogue, etc are lacking or suffering, would it not follow that the style is also suffering. If the use of language doesn't lift the plot, wouldn't both style and plot be suffering? Moreover, wouldn't plot (or whichever literary device) be suffering because of style? I wonder if the strong use of literary devices and/or style are suffering because of the pressure to publish. Does the market cause works to suffer? Does the lack of grammar being taught in schools cause these works to suffer? Is there a larger force causing this issue you've mentioned because I agree it exists. – DKWeber 6 years ago

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