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Friday, September 21, 2012

Elements of the Greatest Stories

Your book, your story, your baby, is as much about how you tell (Write) the story as it is about the elements of the story itself.  Let me explain.

First and foremost is the story elements – But Rarely do you come across that tremendous story that must be told and almost everybody would enjoy some aspect of hearing (Reading) it.
Secondly, since most stories are not tremendous masterpieces in themselves, it is just as important in how you tell a story as to how interesting it comes across.  There are many good stories which could easily be slid over to the great category just in revising how it is presented, written or told.
Readers know when they are reading a good story.  It will grab them, hook them, suck them into it and hold their attention and play with their minds in the times between actually reading the story and their lives.  It makes them desire to get back to the story to find out what happens next.
The truly great story is one that is so intense, so disturbing and upsetting that you have to put the book down and stop reading, but the only way to find out what happens next or how it ends is to pick it back up and continue reading.
Elements of the Great Story
1. Incredible Plot – good planning and execution from beginning to end with all loose ends tied up by the ending.
2. Mini climaxes timed to coincide with the breaks in the story, right at the end of chapters so you don't want to stop at the end of the chapter but have to keep reading until it settles down. 
3. Do not over explain it, over describe it, or lay it in the readers lap.  The Readers are not idiots; they are intelligent and can figure things out on their own.  Give them just enough information as needed and roll on.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs and let them find their own way through your story. 
4. Generally the stories that leave the greatest impact on me are the ones that sneak something in on you.  Either a surprise ending, an understanding of a puzzling development that as you read the end of the story allows all the dominoes to fall and pieces to fit together.  It reveals the picture of the puzzle you have been endeavoring to solve.  There should be little discoveries throughout the book but the end piece should make you go WOW.
5. Books that take me somewhere I have never been before, show some new piece of technology, some new vehicle, some foreign country, exotic place, or something entirely new.
One of my favorite authors once said you should go to a book store and then write the book that you can't find sitting on the shelf.  Write about the things you cannot find there.
The following are books this author feels fall into the Great category.  Obviously just like with music, there are so many titles to choice from in so many different Genres that you could do top 100 to top 500 in many different lists and go on forever.  These are just randomly off the top of my head as favorite great reads by very talented authors who know how to tell a story properly.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Catching Fire (Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
Flight of Eagles by Jack Higgins
Sandstorm by James Rollins
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I am not including any of my work as I only have two of my four books published and the second one of those in the middle of the third or fourth major editing and to be re-released soon.  I am purposely saving my best stories for a while until I honed my skills more and get them to the level the stories deserve so that my later books will make many of the top ten lists.


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