When I open a book, I am ready to embark on my next adventure. I’m excited to jump in, get lost, and then formulate my next review. I am very easily distracted, however, when the story just isn’t all there. For me, a great story needs creativity, clarity, characterization and cleanliness to help me dive right in. If these four are solid, I’m all in cards on the table.
While it is true that many stories have a similar foundation, the way in which it is told has a great effect on the audience. Boy meets girl, girl falls for boy, they split, then fall back in love and live happily ever after. How many times has this come to play in most of the books and movies we see every day? What makes them stand out? The answer is simple – something about it is unlike the others. Draw me in with a new hook, make it work, make me believe it and I’m like a pig in poo.
I love well-developed stories, but it’s so easy to cross the line from “well-developed” and “over-developed.” I like stories to be ones that can be followed. Sure, make me think, keep me guessing, make it interesting, but for the love of all that is holy, don’t over complicate what doesn’t need to be. Be clear in your thoughts, don’t confuse the reader unless the storyline calls for that confusion.
Nothing is more dull than a story half told. One note main characters frustrate me to no end because I want to get to know them. What’s their psychology? What happened to them to make them the way they are? Tell me back story (but not more than necessary), give your characters flaws and challenges, make me root for or hate them… This is simple, as it really helps drive the plot and sucks the reader in more. I like to feel like I know who a character is. If the character should be a mystery, make that a part of the story. I like my characters well done, not medium rare.
For Pete’s sake, check your spelling and grammar. We all make mistakes, so I can forgive a few here or there. Heck, even the best editors can miss one or two, but if you are missing words, butchering spelling, neglecting to utilize proper punctuation and just haphazardly picking a to/too/two out of a hat – chances are I will toss your story aside and move onto the next.
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