Friday, May 18, 2007

Got Story?

by G.Parker

Ever think of what makes a good story? I'm sure by now you've taken a few classes and know there are steps we are supposed to take, things we are supposed to do, plot outlines that should be written.

But I'm talking in the simplest terms possible here. What makes a good story? For me, it's being drawn in and made part of it. I have four books that sit on my bedside table. They are books that I love reading over and over again.

Coast Road, by Barbara Delinsky; The Summer House, by Jude Deveraux; Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey; and Beauty by Robin McKinley. The two I read the most out of the four are The Summer House and Coast Road.

I just finished Coast Road for the umteempth time, and remembered why I love it so much. It's real. It starts with a crisis which immediately pulls you into the characters and continues with those same characters, letting you live part of their lives.

It's how I want to write. If you are like other writers, you read a lot and you read what you want to write. I didn't know about plots and story line, let alone character development when I started writing -- I just knew I wanted to tell a story. There are a few lucky ones that seem to know how a story should flow without a lot of learning, and I'm jealous.

It takes me loads of practice, lots of editing and more writing to get the story right. I don't do well with plots and storylines, because sometimes that empties the thought out of my brain and the enthusiasm is gone. That part comes in when I'm editing and looking at the ebb and flow of the words. Then I realize that this part is weak, or that character doesn't work, etc.

What makes a story good for you? What's a book that you can't put down until you've read it all the way through, even if it's for the tenth time?

Ask yourself why -- you might learn from it.

1 comment:

C. L. Beck said...

Gaynell,
I think you've got a really good point here. When we take the time to dissect our favorite books, we learn what makes a story great. Then we can try to apply that to our own writing.