Good vs. Showy

“Take a step back and ask yourself what’s more important: your writing or the story? Would you rather readers admire your writing, or become engrossed? If you answer the former, you must change your way of thinking. You must realize that when a reader gets lost in your story, turns pages rapidly and does not notice your writing, he is paying you the highest compliment. Unfortunately, these days, “literary” writing seems to have become synonymous with “showy” writing, writing that is beautiful but doesn’t tell a story. This is a misguided trend. If today’s “literary” writers would look back only one or two hundred years at real literary writers like Dostoyevsky, Poe, Conrad, Melville, they would find momentous stories–not just pretty writing–at the core of almost all their great works.”

–Noah Lukeman The First Five Pages, pg. 67