What makes a good story?

There is so much that goes into a good story. Most of us know what that is without actually knowing what that is. After all, we all tell stories everyday. Specifically about ourselves and our friends and families. Or whatever juicy story is going around at the time.

I’ve always found it fascinating that there are people who have the ability to imagine stories so vividly in their head. And even more impressed when they are able to put this other world onto paper for the rest of us to enter into their minds, as it were.

I’ve often said that the best stories all have one thing in common. They are stories about love. That doesn’t necessarily mean romance. Although those are certainly the most common. But there are also excellent stories with other kinds of love.

We have stories involving the love between siblings. Look at one of the most popular current anime – Demon Slayer; A story of a brother doing whatever is necessary to protect his sister. Similarly you have stories of parental love, especially in the survival type stories like A Quiet Place.

We have stories of the love between friends. I’m reading a book series called Starshatter than illustrates this, as well as romantic love, beautifully. But it can also be something as simple as the parody movie Fanboys. A story about a group of friends going on a road trip to steal Star Wars Episode 1 before their friend dies of cancer.

Then there’s a love that’s pretty hard to understand unless you’ve experienced it personally. I call it the brother-in-arms love. There are a select few who understand this really. It isn’t relegated to those in the military only. There are plenty of jobs where your life depends on people you are with.

One of the best examples of this I’ve ever seen was on the show Justified. “We dug coal together.” Such a simple line. Yet, as it was so well used in the show, it demonstrated a bond between the two rival characters that, no matter what, was unbreakable. That’s what I call good writing.

Even something with nothing but mindless violence like John Wick was really based on love. The love of a dog and the love that the dog represented. Pretty sure we all were cheering on John on that one.

Finally, you have stories about the love of God. The Ten Commandments, I Can Only Imagine, Gods Not Dead, and Contact are good examples of this. Yes I consider Contact a story about God.

Now, of course, this is not all you need. But it is the foundation that all good stories are built upon. And I’m all about foundations. After that we want good, well thought out, relatable characters; A good, mostly believable story and some nice special effects and good soundtrack won’t hurt either. When all those things come together, you get truly amazing stories.


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