|Ignatius J. Reilly|
I think a novel or story stands on three legs: a character you can bond with or understand, an interesting plot, and skillful writing. Without one of those three, a story will fall flat. But this formula can be manipulated. A great writer can turn it on its head and give us, say, a Holden Caulfield or a Lisbeth Salander or an Ingatius J. Reilly. An interesting plot can (sometimes) be the small lives of a couple falling out of love or an imbecile blundering around the French Quarter of New Orleans trying to find a job that pays him for doing nothing. I suppose the only one that can't be messed with much is the skillful writing. It takes a lot forms, but you have to be able to write to make a story fly. Good characters and plot can only do so much.