Musing Monday: Story Format

March 1, 2010

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Just One More Page.

Today’s Musing Mondays post is about story format.

How do you feel about books written in a differing format – whether this be journals or letters (epistolary), verse novels, or any other form? Is this something you enjoy? Or do you prefer straight forward chapter prose.

I have to say, there are very few books that I read that aren’t in simple, straight-forward chapter prose.

For the most part, this is because it’s what I prefer. I like to just immerse myself in the story that an author has put on the page, following along as they have designed it. I love to read about characters and situations, and am generally less interested in the “format” side of things. I just want to absorb as much as possible as I read.

On the other hand, books that seem to be written in an alternative style just because tend to bother me. It usually just seems like the author was trying to find a gimmick, and it isn’t always pulled off very well. To be fair, it can be useful sometimes – such as when one of my students read a book last year that was written completely in verse, and it was the first novel that she finished since she was a little kid because it interested her. But in general, these kinds of books don’t do it for me.

The exception to this is when a book has a different format for a reason. I remember reading a book once where the first half was completely in the form of letters written by a teenage girl to everyone else in her life just before she committed suicide. The remainder of the novel was in the typical prose-story style as those people reacted to what she had written. That book made sense to be written in that way.

4 Comments

  • s March 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Hi!
    I can read either one, chapter books or journal/letter books. Journal/letter books seem to have a more personal touch to them. Have a great day!

    Sherrie
    Just Books

  • Yvonne March 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    As long as the story is good, I don’t really care what the format is. My response is here

  • Lori @ Escape Between The Pages March 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    For the most part, I am a chapter to chapter traditional reader. Occasionally, I will dabble in other styles. Here’s Mine.

  • DanaB March 2, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Good point! I have seen just what you’re talking about in that some alternative formats feel contrived.
    I enjoy letter format in that I think it enriches the characters, getting to know them on a different level. However, I think straight prose is where I find myself being immersed in a story, turning pages without pause…
    ~
    http://www.mywindowswideopen.wordpress.com

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