Sunday, March 28, 2010

What makes a good story?

I found a great article by Chris King in Storytelling Power. These are key points that will help our average stories become good stories, and in turn, compelling to our readers. Let me pass on what Mr. King wrote.
A good story is one that touches people in some way.
  • A really good story has a sense of truth and resonates with some basic universal aspects of being human.
  • It doesn't have to be profound, but a good story should move the listener, make him/her laugh, think, and ponder it afterward.
A good story has to have substance.
  • If the skeletal structure is strong and it fits snugly, chances are you have a good story.
  • Sometimes the story has lots of pieces, but no deep truth running through it -no backbone or substance.
A good story needs conflict and resolution.
  • Strong stories usually have a well-defined main character that encounters some kind of trouble (conflict).
  • It is the believable action moving the story from beginning to middle to end that keeps the audience entranced. They want to know what's going to happen.
A good story creates vivid images.
  • We want the readers to imagine their own images that relate to them and their experiences as the story unfolds.
  • If our stories help the listener to think of his/her own stories, we have succeeded in igniting a storytelling spark.
A good story is not "wimpy."
  • A wimpy story is one that points toward something very obvious, that doesn't have resonance inside, that doesn't provide an experience.

1 comment:

  1. I'd also suggest keeping in mind the emotional arc. A story is a relationship: when the emotion is done, it's over - whether or not the plot has been resolved.