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What Makes a Good Story?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately to try and determine if my story has what it takes.  What is it about a book that draws me in and keeps me wanting to turn those pages?  Is it the characters?  How about the setting or world the author is building?  Maybe it’s the author’s storyvoice?

I think stories that end up on the best sellers list and are forever engraved in the minds of the reader have a mix of all of these things.  In my case, I have to be drawn in by the storyline first by the hook and then I stick around because of the characters.  If I’m bored after a few pages, it’s hard for me to continue.  Time is precious these days and if I’m not being entertained, I’m not going to waste what little time I have.   

Okay, I’m hooked, but what keeps me reading?  Two things, I’ve decided.  First, I can relate to the heroine by feeling her pain, her joy, her anger or her struggles hit close to home.  I fall head over heals for the hero and his macho but sensitive side along with his strong desire to support, protect and fall in love with the heroine.  Second, I absolutely must find out what happens to these great people the author has painting so clearly in my head or… or else. LOL

Although all these factors may play a huge role, for me, it’s the characters that keep me going or coming back to read more by that author.  The more real the characters appear, the better the story in my opinion. 

 So now it’s back to work on my book to reread, to edit, to rewrite, to try and come up with those characters that people want to care about.   Those characters that they must find out what happens to or go crazy wondering about all day.  🙂

 What keeps you reading?  What is it about a book that makes it worthwhile to spend your valuable time on?


6 Responses

  1. The story has to be there, but if I don’t like the characters, if I don’t feel a connection….I don’t keep reading. I think that’s why I love when an author writes around a family or a set of friends who keep coming back in other story lines. If I grow to love those characters, I want to keep seeing them.

  2. I have to feel a connection with the characters, and there has to be good GMC. (Goals, motivation, and conflict.) That’s what leaves me on the edge. =)

  3. The characters are definitely important. If I don’t care about the hero and heroine I won’t bother finishing the book. The plot should move along at a nice pace without becoming stagnant.

  4. Amy, I love to know what happens to the characters after their story ends. When the story is good, you never want it to end. 🙂

  5. Goal, motivation, and conflict. Yes, another great point to consider, Jamie. I love living on the edge! At least through a character anyway. LOL

  6. Pacing is always important too, Jane. I don’t know how many times I’ve skipped parts in books, because it was just so slow. I want to get to the good stuff! 🙂

    Excellent points, ladies!!

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