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Is Fiction just Diction?

Although it is said that mannered writing is a form of frigidity that stands between the writer and the reader, I find that an author with a "style" writes in a far more consistent fashion than an author who has none, or too many. John Gardner, for instance, in his book The Art of Fiction warns against writing like a Nabokov. Just how likely is that anyway? But taking Nabokov as an example, am I wrong to believe that his mannered style is part (how much?) of what makes him great? There seems to be a point where divergence from the clear open window on narrative becomes more attractive to the reader than the story itself. By analogy, some of us will watch any John Wayne movie, regardless of the plot or brilliance of the script, simply because we are getting our fix of "pure John Wayne." Readers become fond of mannered writers for the same sort of reason. Nabokov fans just want more Nabokov-- the story can go hang. In his case of course, he is genius enough to overcome his own defect of a "mannered style." With some writers the style or diction of their writing is more subtle, but nonetheless pervasive in their work. Readers thus select various authors when they are in various moods, not because of the stories or genres, but because of the "atmosphere" they find themselves immersed in while reading. So I ask, is fiction just diction?
Cydonia photo: ESA

This is the journal of David Ross
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