Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What makes a good story?

Way back when, I talked about figuring out other blog topics besides book reviews, since I can’t read a book a day, but want to post here at about that frequency. I’ve decided to explore this idea with a bit of a selfish twist. Since I am working on a writing project of my own, I’d like to tally up elements of what I believe to be a good fantasy read. I think this will help me to focus and evaluate my own writing as I prepare to eventually embark on that dreaded quest to get published.

Some of these future posts (or sections of them, at least) will probably feel specific to the fantasy genre. However, I think you’ll find that some ideas also have an application to literature and storytelling in general. Dragons and dwarves and damsels-in-distress may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but oftentimes, they merely contribute to a magical, medieval veneer, making pretty wrapping around a universal theme or message that transcends the setting or characters. Isn’t that part of why Harry Potter has enjoyed such widespread success?

I have several “good story elements” spinning in my head at this point. Those will come out in the coming days. In the meantime, I’d love your own thoughts on what constitutes a great story. Getting others’ perspectives will help me to refine my own concept of what a good book will have within its pages.

In other words, comment away!


  1. Commenting... :)

    So, I'm honestly not THAT picky when it comes to books. I think I'm more easy to please than most readers. With that said, here's what makes a good story for me:

    1) Characters that I can relate to and in turn love because of their personality and situation.

    2) A well written story that is exciting, not overly detailed, and reels me in immediately, making it difficult to put down. As the author of this blog will tell you, I'm not the best at "seeing things coming" so I like to be surprised when I read and that normally happens. :)

    3) A happy ending but not without struggle along the way. Even though I read to escape real life, I appreciate what characters go through to reach their happy ending and balance is always a good thing, right?

    How's that for a comment? :)

  2. Great ideas, all of those. They are definitely on my "short list" of things to post about. Thanks for supporting me too, btw. :)