What Makes a Great Story?
Five elements must work together in balance to create a great story. They include:
Characters in a great story are multi-layered with both strengths and weaknesses. Memorable characters will have uniqueness, individuality, and complexity with both the negative and positive traits of real people. Characters reveal who they are by what they say and do, which leads to the need for intense conflict and real, believable dialog. Every great story revolves around both external and internal conflict. A good conflict must appeal to the emotions and address a felt need, or a universal problem. To capture the reader’s attention, a great story begins with a conflict; something is changing. From the initial conflict, the story develops around how the characters respond to each conflict to obtain a final resolution.
The setting of a great story must provide a strong sense of place and be integral to the plot. The setting can influence the outcome of the story and serve as the antagonist of the story — man versus nature model. The setting can real character, add texture, and set the mood of the story.
The dialog within a great story will reveal the character speaking. It must contribute to the telling of the story and move the story forward. The dialog should not be used for exposition, except in small doses. It should build the reader’s interest and apprehension.
The impact of the story makes a story memorable. The goal of the author is to satisfy the reader. If the reader is not satisfied, she will feel cheated. The ending is the last impression of the author and her work. It will be the deciding factor of they will read another book by the same author or recommend the author’s books to others.