What Makes A Good Story?
February 9, 2021
Calling all writers! We’re working on something big for you… and by big, we mean REALLY BIG. Multi-tiered. Multi-paged. Multi-everything.
But here’s the thing – it’s gotten so big that it’s taking us a bit longer to finish it than we intended – boo! But we’re so close now, so we want to start sharing a bit of it with you!
Here’s an excerpt from our forthcoming SUPER EXPANDED folklore & writing workbook on what really makes a good story – enjoy!
What makes a good story?
Ask ten different people this question, and you’ll probably get ten different answers.
It’s inherently subjective. Some people love The Lord of the Rings, and some people fall asleep trying to read it. Some people adore The Chronicles of Narnia, while it actively enrages others.
For some people, it comes down to genre. Fantasy? They’ll give it a shot. Science fiction? Meh. Others read widely across genres and find books they love all over the literary spectrum from romance to slipstream to horror to cozy mystery.
Sara’s a sucker for snappy dialog, lush descriptions, and friends-to-lovers romances.
Brittany loves brooding antiheroes, a Gothic ambiance, and prose that borders on the poetic.
So there’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all element that you can learn or perfect that will instantly win over all possible readers.
And that’s ok! There’s no one story out there that’s going to appeal to everyone.
And… strangely, that’s kind of the secret, if you can hold onto it.
What makes a good story is… not trying to appeal to everyone. Not getting lost in the weeds of what you think your reader wants. This is especially true at the beginning of your writing journey, when you’re learning your voice and finding your way into the words.
Write a story that thrills you. Write the story that you want to see in the world, that fills you with passion and excitement.
If you feel it – if your story says something true and beautiful and meaningful to you – then it will shine through.
This doesn’t mean you’ll immediately find a publisher who loves it or who gets it. (Again, no story is for everyone.) But it does mean that your story will have the most important thing – an emotional core and the potential to connect with others.
Other skills can be honed over time. You can practice writing better dialog or improve your pacing.
But the most important thing for writing a good story is that it truly resonates with you. So be true to yourself and write.
We hope this post has gotten you excited about what’s coming! We’re still putting the finishing touches on everything though, and there’s still time to add more… so while we have you, we have a question: what would you MOST like to see in a writing offering from us? What would make your heart sing? Is is more about dialog? Advice on now to navigate folklore and worldbuilding? Tons of prompts? Something else entirely? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!
(Keep your eyes open for more on this SOON!)
Oh, I’m excited about this! I am interested in how to craft an atmospheric story, where the setting is akin to a character. 🙂
So excited for this! The thing I would most like guidance on is worldbuilding, specifically on incorporating elements of faerie tales and folklore into stories set in the modern era.
I’m really excited about this. I would love some prompts and maybe some more stuff about creating/incorporating magic systems in your stories.
I so needed to read that this morning! Thank you!
World building..How much, when to build it, the entire ‘mess’ (my fallback term when I’m overwhelmed
Dealing with a story that’s morphing into its ownself as you write (also known as “Where did this character COME from? Shouldn’t it just LEAVE? And what do I do if it demands to stay?)
Prompts needed to pull the middle of a story out of the doldrums into which it has fallen. I love The Lord of the Rings (which is NOT a trilogy and never was meant to be), but the portions currently noted as the 2 Towers lost me for awhile (until I read them out loud). We have prompts to get going and there are probably prompts to close. But that middle section….oh dear…
Eeek!!! I am so excited about this!!!
Oh, and as for what I would like to see…well, I just want to read your writing, because I’m sure it will be amazing!
I really liked your tip in a previous blog about focusing on just doing one small thing at a time. I experience huge overwhelm both by the task at hand and by the content that I’m writing so any practice tips like that are great. Any other tips you have to improve my practice – to focus, be productive and not get lost (and abandon everything to go do a puzzle) would be great!