1. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    What made that story special?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Patrick94, May 14, 2011.

    Remember that book you read until five in the morning, and started it again when you finished it? What made that story so good? Characters? Plot?
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Whenever I read a good book, I think it's because the four elements of plot creation is in line, which are the actor, the goal, the motivativation and the oppositiion. What makes it special is that they are all scensory and not too much exposition. I often like reading books that allow us to see what is happening in the story rather than telliing. It makes me feel as if I am the character and not the writer.
     
  3. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    Usually characters over plot. Thrillers and mysteries are the other way around.
     
  4. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Characters, in general, but more specifically empathy. I don't keep reading late into the night unless I truly understand and care about what's happening to the MC. Even if I don't like the MC, with a strong empathetic style of writing I'll still find myself riveted and unable to put the book down.
     
  5. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    dramatic tension,character,plot, tone, originality, wordplay, milieu all play a role in the gumbo-ish magical writing i can not put down
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Good storytelling.

    It isn't as simple as great characters or great plot. Those are factors, but it's also sparkling dialogue, a touch of humor in the right places, a finely honed instinct for pace, mastery of language, and an ability to stir the reader's imagination.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have only read three novels in one sitting. The first was "Tom Sawyer". I was 13, and we had just moved to a new neighborhood where I didn't know anyone. Both my parents worked, and I was left alone to rattle around the apartment all day, bored out of my skull. My mother dragged me to a stationery store that had a very solid paperback selection, and she bought me "Tom Sawyer. I read it straight through the next day, relieved from my tedium and delighted by Twain's wonderful story.

    The second was "The Little Prince" by Antione de Saint-Exupery. I was a senior in college and its simple innocence enchanted me. I stayed up all night to finish it.

    The final one was James Michener's "The Novel", and by then I knew I wanted to write and castigated myself frequently for not having chosen it as my life's work when I had the chance. Michener's novel put me deep inside the publishing world, and I loved being there. I have gone back and reread it many times, feeling closer to the publishing world each time I do.

    I mention all of this because, as complete as Cogito's list is, I thought it could use some color, some fleshing out. These examples of what might keep ME up all night, but YMMV.
     
  8. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Ed touched on a good point with his reference to the Michener, add enlightens or educates to my list. I read to learn, I want some local flavor, if novel takes place in Utah I want expect to learn about the latter day saints, if in miami i want a quick Castro history lesson
     
  9. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    This ^

    A unique story does it for me...something original and well written!
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't even remember when that was the last time it happened to me. I think I had most of my "Not-being-able-to-put-the-book-down-and-sacrificing-sleep-for-reading-it"-experiences as a teen. I wonder if i means i have read too many books of poor quality as an adult since I haven't had that feeling in many years or if it is just a thing you experience easier in a young age when you are relatively new to reading novels and don't have that same reading experience, when all the stories you read still seem new and fresh and it's the first time you hear them?
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think the moments become less common as you take on more and more responsibilities as an adult. I know that has been the case with me: I can't afford the luxury of staying up all night, no matter how good the book is. I also think that it's not so much that you lose the passion for it as that your tastes become more discerning with experience.
     
  12. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great plot, interesting characters, skillful writing, etc, etc
    These are all logical things to say, however, I often find it's not always true. To me, what makes a story special is almost impossible to say. There are books I've read in one sitting that I in hinesight realize actually wasn't that good after all, but they still managed to keep me reading. And often get a reread anyway. Then there are books that takes me weeks and months to read, that have great plot and all those things, yet they're still hard to get through and even harder to pick up again after a sitting. Then when I finish, I suddenly realize the story was amazing after all, and read it again, often spending the same amount of time on it.
     
  13. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only book I've read into the early hours, cover to cover, is Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps.

    Umm. What to say about it? Well, it's exciting, I guess and short. Very short. Simply an urge to see how things work out coupled with an awareness - given the size - that the denouement is not too far off.

    Very easy to read, of course. Not much concentration required. The body - which is craving sleep - is aroused but not taxed. I can't imagine ploughing through Joyce or Woolf during the early hours. Leaving aside the concentration required, I rather fancy that the arousal induced by artisitic beauty is rather less visceral than that induced by yarns.
     
  14. ZeaMayz
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    ZeaMayz Member

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    I fully agree with Cogito. Good storytelling is very difficult to pin down. But when I read my favourite books (again and again) I sometimes read them slowly, savouring every sentence.

    What do my top favourites have in common??? Exactly what Cogito said... pace, humour, etc

    A good book grips my attention. I feel that the author is trying his/her best to write for me, to entertain me. He/she is not writing for themselves but for the reader.

    My favourite authors really have a story to tell, and they don't wait long to start telling it. They don't keep me waiting out of spite, but to titillate my curiosity, in order to answer my burning questions at just the right moment.

    They don't try to impress me with linguistic gymnastics, bizarre turns of speech or obscure synonyms, but they talk like a real person, clear and concise.

    They don't bore me with long flowery descriptions, but they write just enough so that I am able to picture the scene properly. They don't irritate me with unnecessary detail, nor leave out crucial explanations.

    They don't rush me through scenes I want to linger and enjoy. They don't insult my intelligence or conscience. They don't talk way over my head. They write with a smile on their face, and when it gets serious, they write with their heart.

    In short, they reward me for bothering to read what they wrote.
     
  15. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    This. If I don't empathize and understand the characters all the great storytelling in the world won't keep me interested. Or perhaps I should say, that IS what great storytelling is to me.
     

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