What Makes A Good Story Good?

What makes a story good? If you surveyed your reading friends you would probably get many different answers:

  • Characters
  • Time Period
  • Author’s voice/writing style
  • Action
  • Plot points
  • Topic
  • Because of the person who wrote it

The list could go on and on and chances are you thought of many more reasons why a story is good. This question and its answer is of particular interest to the novelist. We authors write because we like to write, simple as that. But what if our work comes to nothing? Not that is has to be a best seller or even published for that matter, but we at least want our work to be solid and relevant, right?

So I have created a survey below to ask you what makes a story good and why you would be compelled to recommend it to others.

If your reason is not included in the poll, please select “other” and elaborate below.



14 thoughts on “What Makes A Good Story Good?

  1. I believe that every story hinges on the characters. I will muddle through a poorly written book if I care enough to find out what happens to the characters I like. I’m not even sure I would need a plot if I could get a book that was just one solid character description after another. In fact, forget I said that. That’s my newest book idea. Just a bunch of characters. No plot.

  2. Definitely a combo of everything. I really can’t handle poorly written books no matter how great the plot is. And a beautifully written book won’t be a page turner unless there is something happening all the time. Of course I want 3D characters and I love themes and the setting has to be spot-on. So, yeah, I’m one of those readers who is hard to please. 😉

    1. 4amWriter – I’m with you. This is a hard question to answer. Every piece is important. I couldn’t even answer the question: “What is the most important piece of a good novel” because (to me) there isn’t just one piece. There are many, many pieces…

      Good way to get us thinking, though, Bob! I always enjoy a good question I can’t answer. It’s gets the gears in my brain going.


    2. I wish I was easily pacified as well but whether it is because I have little time or because I don’t want to invest in fluff I want to make sure what I am reading is Good capital G. Thanks for the response 4am!

    3. Julie Catherine

      4am, I agree with you also. In my opinion, a great read has to have excellence in many areas; plot, character, voice, themes … great poll, Bob! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Writing Contest – 50 Word Character Description « Part-Time Novel

  4. I answered writing style and then I saw there was a combination answer. Oh well. I recently read a book that I didnt think I’d like due to the genre, but ended up loving it because of the “voice”. Style definitely matters.

    1. Yes I agree. I can handle almost any topic as long as it is written well. Not just grammatically (though that matters), but in a way that draws you in, leaves you hanging, and compels you to read more. Thanks for the comment Jennifer!

  5. Pingback: Writing Contest Entry: Describe A Character In 50 Words « Part-Time Novel

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