One of the things that makes me do some thinking when I write on this blog is that I am not entirely certain of why I like the things I like. This is especially interesting when I encounter a story that I do not enjoy, and yet that I think is well written. Something in my occasionally logical brain is offended at the realization that my enjoyment doesn’t fully follow my more technical appraisal.
Now it may simply be that I have not done enough serious looking at the literature that I read. If I study it more closely I may do a better job of determining why I like certain things but not others. At the moment I believe that characterization impacts my appreciation of a story much more than plot. I have read some stories in which I thought the plot was not all that good, but yet I enjoyed it because of the quality of portrayal of the characters.
But what I have noticed over the last few weeks is that I truly like stories that are very strong in more than one area. I could call it mixing genres, but these are truly properly fitted into a single genre; they just offer elements of another.
For example, I like military fiction. I like military history as well, but military fiction is fun. I also like science fiction. But some of my favorite science fiction writers are folks who do a good job combining good military writing and science fiction, such as David Weber and David Drake.
In recent reading suggested by my wife, I read Nora Roberts’ books Sacred Sins and Brazen Virtue. Normally I dislike romance, but the mixture of elements of mystery and a small amount of suspense made that reading workable.
I’m not trying to get technical here–not that I could in this area–I’m just looking at what I like. I’m also not trying to be prescriptive. It’s not that such stories are better; I just enjoy them more.