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BBawlight's avatar

What do you think makes a good story?

Asked by BBawlight (2400points) December 1st, 2012

I’m asking this because I’m not sure what people prefer. Do they prefer a story to have a lot of detail? Or do they want more dialogue and action? When do they like the story to start? Do they like the characters described like ‘Mary had on a red cape and sunglasses…’? Or progressively?
What makes a story interesting to you?

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16 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I love to see how the story changes the characters involved.

AshLeigh's avatar

I like to have great descriptive details, along with some amazing dialogue. I don’t think it has to be one or the other.

zenvelo's avatar

Emotional growth and change in the characters, even if part of an action story.

Unbroken's avatar

Blending of detail and action character development and change over time.
What sort of book are you writing?

BBawlight's avatar

@rosehips I’m writing an action/friendship/adventure type thing. It’s not a book… Depending on what your definition of book is. It’s a fanfiction, to be exact.

flutherother's avatar

A good story should make you want to know what happens next. If you achieve that then your writing is a success.

ucme's avatar

The words, mostly in the right order.

starsofeight's avatar

I have heard it said by those in the know that it is conflict that makes a good story. I am not necessarily behind that school of thought. My wife, however, watches soap operas—which, of course, are based on that school of thought. I know for a fact that soaps are popular. The finale to “La Fea Mas Bella” (a Mexican soap) was watched by more Americans than anything else on TV on that day.

Still, I look in on my wife and her soaps, and it seems that someone is always fussing and arguing, or bawling their eyes out. I ask her, ‘can’t you find a pleasant soap where the people just get along’?

Having done some writing myself, I can say that all your points are important to a good story, but the shorter the work is, the more urgent it becomes to bring the reader up to par as quickly as possible.

Unbroken's avatar

Hm if it is fanfiction simply write down all the elements of the book that are so unique and make it worth the extra effort. Then try to include them.
Good luck and welcome to fluther. @BBawlight

BBawlight's avatar

@rosehips I’m just reusing characters and their personalities, really. I hate coming up with my own characters, but I am putting in some subtle quotes and references to the original work. I think it’s funny that way. Call me ‘Lello’, I haven’t been here for as long as many of you, but it’s been almost a year…

Berserker's avatar

Style and construct can vary, as long as the story itself grips me, one way or another. And obviously, it has to have interesting characters.

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

I prefer well-written dialogue to extensive description. If I have to read two whole paragraphs about the exact particulars of somebody’s clothes, I get bored. Keep the descriptions short and sweet, and focus on your characters’ actions and personalities.

kitszu's avatar

I think people have vastly differing opinions with regards to what interests them. @Symbeline Definitely agreed! and again @PeppermintBiscuit Most Stephen King books bore the crap out out me. Oh my god, the freaking detail, and I just think, ” I do have some imagination or else I wouldn’t be reading a damn book! I’d be watching TV.” (I’m just saying…shrug)

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

@kitszu Something I hate is when I read a book and it’s obviously written to be exactly like a movie. What I mean is, everything is written visually. We aren’t told anything that we wouldn’t see on a screen.
I also think that a mark of amateur writing is when someone takes a time-out from the narrative to spend two or three paragraphs describing something, then steps back into the narrative like nothing happened. It’s like giving the flow of the story a punch to the kidneys. Why can’t people combine their actions and descriptions?

Unbroken's avatar

^^ I see both your point and agree to an extent. But a world with out detail especially with strange concepts and odd devices is somewhat difficult to read as well. I am thinking of Stephen Kings wolves of calla or blaine the mono.
However if it gets too wordy I do indeed skim.

kitszu's avatar

@rosehips Agreed. I write mostly dark poetry (no suprise there :) but what I see clearly in my mind is abstract in verbal (written) description.

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