“If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.”

W. Somerset Maugham


  1. Great quote! It’s all about the story! I would say your ability to communicate that story is important, inasmuch as it helps you better convey the story. But the prose is subservient to the content you’re trying to communicate. Similar to a quote frequently attributed to Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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    1. Some great thoughts. Though, I feel like W. Somerset Maugham’s advice here was rather tongue-in-cheek. If you’re checking off everything on his list and fulfilling a reader’s desires, odds are you’re already where you need to be when it comes to prose.

      Love that Maya Angelou quote, going to pocket that one away for another day.


  2. That depends on what kind of reader you are. I’m always amazed at the level of approval, in reviews, of what I consider terrible writing. No story, no matter how it might otherwise appeal to me, can survive my awareness of the writing itself. Not just grammar, but style or complete lack of style, plot holes, clunky dialogue, etc. All are distractions from what the writer is trying to accomplish.


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