What would you consider the best description of a person who writes stories? Author, novelist or playwright naturally spring to mind, but aren’t these merely titles on a par with doctor or manager? Maybe artist, craftsperson or artisan fit the bill. At least these titles give the idea that the person so named is trying to create something. But they don’t give us an idea of what the person is trying to achieve. To get at what that we have to dig a bit deeper. So maybe we should be looking at what makes ‘good writing.’
My idea of a good story includes at least some of these characteristics.
- The story line pulls me in… it has tension and conflict. I want to know what happens next.
- I fall in love with the main character. I want them to overcome all the obstacles.
- I have a relationship with all the characters in the story. I find them attractive, funny, intriguing, disturbed or evil but I care about what they are doing.
- I want the story to be clever with unexpected twists and turns.
- Situations must be real. If there is violence, I want to see the blood and feel the fear.
- The writer must know what they are doing. They should stick to a point of view and not be mixed up over which tense they are in.
- The writing must be immediate and hook me into the action.
- I want the story to be ‘about’ something… to have a premise and not only that I want to feel a sense of satisfaction when I come to the end and still want more.