What makes a good story?
A story can take many approaches, but the key elements of a good story must remain consistent. An entertaining storyline, an interesting cast of characters, and the perfect setting set the backdrop to a writer's masterpiece. As paint and canvas is important to a painter, a great storyline, interesting characters, and these elements are crucial to an author's story as he puts his creative ability to the test with paper and pen.
An entertaining storyline is one that can captivate the reader within the first couple sentences, paragraphs or pages. If a writer is unable to provide that excitement or intrigue early on, the interest of the reader may wane and soon their thoughts have wandered from the words on the pages and wafted to the lingering duties of daily life. How boring and ...view middle of the document...
An interesting character or set of characters is crucial to the makings of a good story. Readers want to understand, feel and be able to identify with the character and what they are going through. The author’s ability to describe a character’s appearance and personality traits whether it be character flaws or attributes, the reader is drawn into the character’s life as if they were connected on some level. One aspect of a story that is not appealing is too many characters. Too many characters described too quickly in the story creates confusion as the mind is trying to learn multiple facts and personality traits and frankly, is too exhausting. However, adding additional characters slowly allows the reader an opportunity to identify and establish a connection with that character.
Lastly, the setting of the story provides a backdrop to the characters and the storyline. It sets the stage for the location, place, and time of where the story takes place, bringing the story to life. An author’s ability to set the stage for the storyline is done through the art of written expression of visual detailing. If the author can provide a strong sense of visual detailing, combined with a cast of characters and a great plot the story will be a success. The author’s use of visual detailing can make the reader believe they can see, listen, feel, smell and taste what the characters are experiencing as if they have been dropped into the pages of the novels themselves.
I found the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, to be an excellent example of the use of visual detailing. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s use of visual description of the room she was put into in the country cottage house described the room and the wallpaper so intimately that I felt that I was there in the room with her. The story, in its details, painted a picture of her mental state and her eventual deterioration into a psychotic depression.