- The characters have got to be interesting. Not necessarily good or evil but I have to be able to see why they are acting the way they are. I want to know how things pan out for them. I need to be able to care about the possible outcomes they face.
- The story is the right length. I like to read a story and feel not a word could be added or taken away.
- I like an interesting plot where the outcome really matters. I do like character studies but they have to be written really well to be gripping. I do prefer "action" stories where X happens and that leads to Y etc.
- A good story is one that sticks in the mind long after initial reading. Nobody, I think, remembers everything about a classic tale but you should be able to remember enough to think yes that really was a special story. I will always remember that about this tale etc etc.
- You are really glad to have read the tale. Doesn't matter if the ending is happy or not but if you feel as if you would have missed out on something special by not reading the story, then that tells me the writer has written something very special indeed. And that should be something for all writers to aspire to do.
This list has to be subjective but my criteria for a good story would be:-
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.