When writing or reading, what is, in your opinion, the most delicious part of a story? The plot and the premise? The writing style? Or, maybe you prefer the characters. No? How about the setting? Is this what you most enjoy writing or reading about when immersed in a story?
I came upon a survey about this in the March/April issue of Writer’s Digest. The members of a WD forum found characters to be the biggest pull of a story. Not surprising, really. I mean, if, as a reader or a writer, I’m not relating to the characters in any way, I get tired of interacting. It’s kind of like being at a party with really boring people. Why stay? Okay, that sounds rude, but I bet you understand what I mean.
The plot and premise of a story was ranked as the next most important element. In some ways, in my opinion, the plot or premise can be even more important than the characters. Don’t most people consider the plot or premise when making a decision about whether to read a story to begin with? Before getting to know the characters? The plot and premise can be the hook that pulls a reader or writer into a story.
Writing style came in third. I might not have been with the majority here. When I'm reading, if I’m really infatuated with a writer’s style or with really great writing, I might keep reading the story even if the characters are not completely engaging or if the premise is not all that fascinating. This is probably the writer in me.
Setting came in dead last. Okay, I get this. If the characters are fabulous, the premise interesting, and the writing style decent, I’m probably not going to care all that much about where the story takes place. However, I do appreciate a great setting when I come upon one. No doubt about that.
So, what’s your favorite story ingredient?