What Makes A Great Story?

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  1. Sarah Masson profile image68
    Sarah Massonposted 7 years ago

    We all like different genres for different reasons but what do you believe are the elements of a great story?

    1. Shadesbreath profile image84
      Shadesbreathposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I think beyond the standard writing-class stuff of good character, desire, conflict, change, etc., what really has to happen is the writing must be good. Not just grammatical and proofread, but truly good, with style. It must be marvelous to read. I think of lines from Shakespeare all the time and am like, GAWD, that is sooooooo good. An example from Hamlet is the lines:

      Thrift, thrift, Horatio, the funeral bak'd-meats
      Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.


      I mean, he could have just written, "Wow, they got married really soon after the funeral." That would have served just as well to convey the point, right?

      When someone can tell a story WELL, selecting details to share in such a way, the experience of reading becomes one of immersion. It's not just a story, it's an adventure in language and cleverness and character and poetics and puzzles and just lots of things. (Which is why people still read Shakespeare despite how "hard" it is.)

      1. Rafini profile image87
        Rafiniposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        an adventure in language and cleverness and character and poetics and puzzles and just lots of things

        gotta agree with Shadesbreath

    2. couturepopcafe profile image60
      couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Any story which engages the reader in some way.  We must be able to identify with the protaganist, we must be able to become part of his life.  Even an antagonist must, in some way, draw us in.  We must feel sorry for him or want to help him or even hate him.  Above all, what makes a good story is honest writing.  By that I mean that the writer cannot withhold information, cannot change tack in the middle of the story.  We, the reader, must feel we've been dealt fairly.  Don't confuse this with twisting plot.  It's more about keeping the story true to its genre down to the smallest detail.

    3. JamesRTaylor profile image58
      JamesRTaylorposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      A really great story comes only when the fictional characters are more real, more personable and, more believable than a live person. The character doesn't of necessity have to be a likable one, simply a truly believable one.
          Of course, plot development and reader involvement are essential to the successful telling of any tale. Scenes, dialogue and interactions are of no less value in conveying the story, but, to be written truly greatly the prose must paint a picture to "show" the reader what's taking place instead of simply "telling" them.

      1. couturepopcafe profile image60
        couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Wasn't In Cold Blood one of those 'telling' stories?  I guess it's more rare but when done by a master story teller, gets the job done.

    4. BRIAN SLATER profile image85
      BRIAN SLATERposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      a beginning -a middle-and an end smile

      1. Tinsky profile image95
        Tinskyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I'd also add to the above a climax!

    5. ceciliabeltran profile image72
      ceciliabeltranposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      a semblance of truth and honesty. It has to be authentic at some level.

    6. profile image0
      Baileybearposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      engaging the reader, new descriptions (not tired old cliches) - this goes for creative non-fiction too (like memoir)

  2. profile image0
    Website Examinerposted 7 years ago

    What's your own take on what makes a story great?

  3. nell79 profile image80
    nell79posted 7 years ago

    That's a great point! And I totally agree.

    Another thing I might add is that it has to be something that makes you feel: angry, tense, excited, devastated, etc. The story has to pull you in and engage you in a way that makes you care what happens because it feels like it's happening to you, and not just some random character in the story.

  4. Mark Ewbie profile image87
    Mark Ewbieposted 7 years ago

    Short is good.  Plus pictures to pad out a bit.  And a happy ending.

    No of course not I jest.  It's just the really great stories I have read have kind of stuck in my brain and sometimes I wish they wouldn't.

    I'll try again.  A great story is one you don't feel like you're reading - it just happens and you share it.

    1. nell79 profile image80
      nell79posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Haha, I think you've got it! lol

      Yeah, I love those stories that pull you in and make you lose track of time. The great ones are the ones that have you so embedded within them that when you are disturbed in real life, you're actually jarred and have to consciously remember that the world you were just in was all imaginary.

  5. KristenGrace profile image58
    KristenGraceposted 7 years ago

    For me it's all about the characters.

    They should be realistic with at least one character who I can relate to.

    I also appreciate the ending I never saw coming.

  6. starme77 profile image67
    starme77posted 7 years ago

    One element of a great story is when the writer becomes the reader when they write smile

    1. couturepopcafe profile image60
      couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      You mean literally?  (No pun intended)

      1. starme77 profile image67
        starme77posted 7 years agoin reply to this

        well, kinda ... ya know .... how it is.... write your stuff, let it cool , go back, and read it out loud as the reader and objectivly hear how it sounds ... smile smile so , kinda literally I guess

        1. profile image0
          Website Examinerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          I use text-to-speech software with natural voices for this purpose. Highly recommended!

          1. nell79 profile image80
            nell79posted 7 years agoin reply to this

            I'm always reading my stuff out loud so I can hear how the flow is. There's a software out there that does it for you? Yikes! I'm so behind on the times! LOL That's awesome!

            1. profile image0
              Website Examinerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              It really works. You can highlight any text, press a shortcut combination, and it will read the text out loud. Or you can ask it to create wave/mp3 files - it can record an entire novel in about 1 hour. The best part is that the voices are synthesized human voices, so natural-sounding that it is virtually impossible to tell it is not a real person speaking.

              1. couturepopcafe profile image60
                couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                Wow!  Me, too.  What's the name of this software please?

                1. profile image0
                  Website Examinerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                  The basic software is called TextAloud, available from nextup.com. You then need to pick one or more voices, available from different providers. I use British Daniel as the default voice, my favorite by far, it is from RealSpeak. I also use some voices from AT&T. Samples are available on the site.

                  1. couturepopcafe profile image60
                    couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                    Thanks!  No need to answer the email I sent you.

          2. starme77 profile image67
            starme77posted 7 years agoin reply to this

            freaking software .... whoaaa, didnt know it existed , shit guess I'll get some so I'll quit having to hear myself talk smile maybe it will stop me from trying to answer myself so I dont go nuts smile

    2. couturepopcafe profile image60
      couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I think its a great idea if the writer wrote a story in which a writer is reading his own story and the story actually happens the way he's reading it, but not like a narrative, like he's an actual character.

      1. mega1 profile image77
        mega1posted 7 years agoin reply to this

        oh, you mean like "Forrest Gump"?

        and I was referring to the people above you who were posting their ad about that voice writing from AT&T stuff - in case you didn't see that - wow, I admit, I didn't entirely puke, just really felt like it.

        1. starme77 profile image67
          starme77posted 7 years agoin reply to this

          exactly like Forest and thats all I have to say about that smile smile smile

  7. Jaggedfrost profile image78
    Jaggedfrostposted 7 years ago

    A good story, IMO is where defined people change from start to finish.

    1. KristenGrace profile image58
      KristenGraceposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely.

  8. Sarah Masson profile image68
    Sarah Massonposted 7 years ago

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. For me, it's mainly about the characters being believable and interesting. I also enjoy being surprised by the ending but really being involved with the story is the winner.

    1. SingleCityGirl profile image55
      SingleCityGirlposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Do you write only fiction?  Or do you also write autobiographical stories? Just curious.  I'm new to hubbing and have only produced one autobiographical story..

  9. profile image62
    logic,commonsenseposted 7 years ago

    JK Rowling does a great job of making the reader feel that they are actually a part of the story.  That is why so many have read her books.  When you are drawn in and are mentally living the story, you can't put it down because you want to see what happens next. 
    Harlan Ellison was very good at this as well.  However his writing would at times hit you like a 2x4 up side the head.

  10. mega1 profile image77
    mega1posted 7 years ago

    newspapers - they make a great story now and then.  And when you're done with them, they're great for starting fires, mulching the flower/veggie garden/allotment and wiping up the vomit you _______s with your AT&T ad just made me puke up all over the floor!

    smile

    p.s.  do you get PAID for doing that?  and can I join the "paid club"?  Or would you rather to remain clueless, innocent and irritating?

    1. couturepopcafe profile image60
      couturepopcafeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      That was a good story.  Thanks for sharing.

    2. starme77 profile image67
      starme77posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      hey I do that
      smile smile ya stole me idea lol smile

    3. profile image0
      Website Examinerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I have no financial interest whatsoever in those companies and am not affiliated with them. I am a licensed and registered user who has paid full price for the software. Your allegations are absurd. I genuinely think this is a useful program, and am entitled to share my experiences. As for company names, I was being asked a direct question by Couturepopcafe and gave a direct reply.

      You are being exceptionally rude. Knowing your forum posting style, I will not respond to any further posts from you.

      1. nell79 profile image80
        nell79posted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I had no idea of what she was talking about until I read your post here. I think that software is a great idea and I thank you for sharing it.

        As someone else mentioned above, I too, get tired of hearing myself talk!

  11. profile image0
    ralwusposted 7 years ago

    What makes a great story? The greatest of liars of course, in a manner of speaking. Clemens was the best.

    1. starme77 profile image67
      starme77posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      yeah, ya know ,  you put things into perspective Ralwus - yer asbolutly correct  smile smile yes... I meant as bo lutly - smile  no mis spellings there smile

 
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