What a Great Story Should Have

1. A great story should have diversity.

This includes having minority characters who play a substantial role and are not just there as a token stereotype.

 

2. A great story should have ambiguous characters or situations.

By ambiguous I mean that the audience should not have all the characters figured out completely, that no one is all good or all bad. There are grey areas; I believe this amplifies the stakes.

 

3. A great story should have the truth of the situation presented.

Though a situation might be ambiguous in how it plays out, it should stay true to the voice of the story.

 

4. A great story should have taken risks.

It is always worth it to take it in your instinctual direction without judging your idea. See where it takes you.

 

5. A great story should have moments of ups and downs.

Within the climb to the climax, there should be moments of excitement counteracted with moments of silence or a lull. I do not necessarily mean this in a dialogue sense, but rather in the action of the story.

 

6. A great story should have its own pace or heartbeat.

The pace can speed up or down, be irregular, etc. so long as it fits the style and truth of the piece.

 

7. A great story should have attention put into it.

As the writer, it is absolutely vital that you spend time with your story. You must attempt to get to know it inside and out.

 

8. A great story should have reader/audience investment.

Whether they love or hate it, those actively reading or watching a piece should put a part of themselves in it, or at least find it enthralling in some sense.

 

9. A great story should have a voice.

Sometimes this is what you have to say and sometimes it is something more than that.

 

10. A great story should have a human aspect.

Even in fantastical or supernatural stories, embedded in that is humanity or the human’s story. This is an essential part of all storytelling, otherwise who are we writing for?

 

Copyright © Alyssa Cokinis, 2016. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Published by Alyssa C.

Writer & theatre artist from Iowa. Currently quarantining in the Pacific Northwest. MA in Intercultural Communication Studies from Shanghai Theatre Academy (expected 2021).

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