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What makes a great story?

with 8 comments

That’s the important and salient point to this post. Big things are happening at chez moi these days. I have been putting together my initial plan for a new novel. I won’t be putting spoilers on here, and I’m not revealing anything about the plot in advance, but it led me to thinking what I would want to read when piecing together the plot. Here’s my list of what I’m looking for and paying attention to:

  1. A point. The novel has to actually have a story that begins, grows and reaches a conclusion, whether that be good or bad.
  2. Character. Characters that elicit no emotion in the reader are merely scenery. A character has to have some depth and make you want to read.
  3. Interplay. Characters should interact as though they’re alive and not merely the scenery mentioned above. There will likely be cameraderie and conflict.
  4. Action. No novel, in the vein of historic fiction at least, can really hook without some good actions scenes.
  5. Humour, suspense, fear, sadness, exultation, pride. At least three of those six emotions present for the reader, but preferably all of them.
  6. Historical accuracy. I am beginning to be more of a stickler in this matter. I have been lax at times in the past. No more.
  7. A feeling for time and place. A feeling of being immersed in the culture.

These are my current thoughts.

Anyone care to add anything?

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Written by SJAT

July 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

8 Responses

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  1. Surprises. Done with character or circumstance. Something nobody is expecting. LOVE that! Also called a mind-fuck.

    Like

    poolagirl

    July 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    • True indeed. I try to involve as many unexpected twists as possible in my writing.

      Like

      SJAT

      July 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  2. When do we do a “mind-meld” to absorb a story directly from the author’s mind, without the effort of turning pages or pushing Kindle buttons?

    Like

    modestypress

    July 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    • I fear that happens to me all the time

      Like

      SJAT

      July 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  3. I think you have covered all the best points. In thinking of my own book, I hope I have included most of them. I think I have…..

    Like

    Terri T.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  4. Talent. One must have talent, like you do, or it will all fall flat. Your books follow all of the above points and even the surprises mentioned by Poola. If your readers aren’t reading Dark Empress, they need to! Jules

    Like

    Red Sonja

    July 25, 2011 at 10:27 pm


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