- Intriguing Characters. Intriguing in that they make you want to find out more about them and why they are acting the way they are. The really great stories ensure the villains are as interesting in this respect as the heroes. This leaves the reader torn between wanting the villains to achieve some of their aims because they can see where these characters are coming from and wanting the hero/heroine to succeed. But all that matters here is that the reader must read on.
- The story is the right length for the story. You feel by the time you come to the end that the story has been told, not a word is wasted and nothing more can be added.
- You can envisage the characters AFTER the story. If ever there was one true sign showing the story really gripped you, this is it. It is the basis for fan fiction, of course, but it is a huge compliment to the original author. Perhaps it should be something all writers should strive to achieve - that their works grip people so much, they want the characters to continue long afterwards any role for them is finished.
- The story provokes a reaction. Whether it is to laugh or to cry, makes you wish the author had not killed off your favourite character in it, or wish you had written anything half as good, this shows the story hit home all right.
- You remember the story later. Not necessarily all the salient details but you do recall why you loved the story and part of it at least always stays with you. Ironically this can sometimes happen with a story you loathed but there it is staying with you for all the wrong reasons! (The only good thing about that from a writing viewpoint is recognising what you loathed and ensuring that doesn't turn up in your own work!).
Regardless of genre, or word count, what makes up a good story? My thoughts on this are:-
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.