What Makes a Story Good?

On the Premises has a great article on their blog about what makes a short story good.

I think it is really important to sometimes remind ourselves of what a reader's involvement in our stories looks like. As writers, we spend most of our time viewing our stories through the lens of the creator and trying to make sure we cover all the critical elements of story telling.

This article goes beyond that and reminds us of what the finished product is supposed to evoke in the reader. The article also spells out the inverse, what happens when a writer fails and what results that causes in a reader.

And both of these views are essential to a story's success. Because all the mechanics can be right and a story can still be a snoozer. If Michelangelo spent all his time making sure his sculptures met artistic expectations, but never breathed a bit of life into them after that, no one would be snapping pictures of them today. No one would have cared back when he finished them either. People seek the best in entertainment, art, and culture, not the "B" version. The "B" version is what you get if you try to logic and checklist your way through a story. The "A" list is composed of people who had the craft and the cunning to push themselves to the limits of their art, know how, and the frail edges of exhaustion to make sure their work had life in it.

I know that description doesn't make the "A" list sound like much fun, to most people. But there are a handful of writers out there who know what I'm talking about and their mouths are salivating over the thought of making it to the end of that crazy feat.

So take a moment and read OTP's view of what makes a story and stand out and what makes a story a dud. It's a really great article. Check it out, then go make your short stories even better.

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