Saturday, March 13, 2010

What makes a good story?

What makes a good story? I have to admit, that was not easy for me to answer. I could no more pick a favorite book than I could pick a favorite child. They all are my favorites because they each have something that binds me, books I mean. Whether its character, plot, dialogue, setting. I could tell you the list of books I dislike and why, but I won’t go there. But what makes a good story?

I am an action/fantasy movie buff. I love Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Ever After and I can go on and on. My sister brought me into the world of the Avatar: The Last Airbender. And of course, I had to watch the original cartoons before the movie came out. And I did. And I was hooked. Not only were the characters able to do cool things—manipulate the elements; but it was who they were that drew me in. I won’t tell you too much, in case you want to watch the movie. There is Aang, the destined hero who didn’t want to be and had a lot to learn. There is Katara and Sokka, a sister brother team. Sokka, the brother is the comic relief. Then there’s Zuko who is obsessed with capturing Aang in an effort to fall back into his father's, the antagonist, good graces. Zuko, for me, carries the heart of the story. A character whose actions define him, or does it?

So what makes a good story? For me, it’s when I’m drawn into a world that seems to lead me one way, but then moves me in another. It’s when evil, is not what we expected and when the hero is not personified in one person, but in many. A little comedy and romance doesn’t hurt either.


  1. I think for me it's finding that story that has "it all" in a good (read: effective for the particular story) balance. Maybe this should be a blog post in the future?

    For a good example, look at Harry Potter. It has action. It has comedy. It has good characters that develop over time. It has personal drama. It has suspense. It has a bit of mystery. In the later books, it even has romance. When you get the balance of all of that, it works. That's why I think HP6 was the best of the series, because it had the best balance of all of that.

  2. Thanks Kyle for joining and commenting. I agree about balance. Good idea about a post. I'll check to see what I can find.


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