Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Cut to the Core

rhfay and I have been discussing what makes good poetry and fiction. I gave this list of questions regarding how to gauge a story's effectiveness.

* Is the story gratifying to write and to read?
* Does it make sense?
* Does the setting support the action and characters?
* Are the characters interesting, believable people worth spending time with? Do they grow, strive, and/or discover things in the story?
* Do important events happen? Does the plot have some good twists so the action isn't too obvious?
* Is the story "about" something? What does the writer have to say about the theme beyond here-it-is?
* Is there anything fresh and surprising in the story?
* Does the language enhance the story and not distract from it?
* Does the story stick in the reader's mind long-term? Does it make the reader think about things?

If the writing advice you receive is not aimed in those directions, then it is probably bad advice. You don't necessarily have to hit all of those in every story, but the more you do, the more compelling your tale is likely to be.
Tags: discussion, reading, writing
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