How To Tell If Your Story Is Any Good

By on January 5, 2018
How To Tell If Your Story Is Any Good - Writer's

Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether our stories are any good, and, let’s face it, the sooner we find out for sure, the better.

It can be all too easy to get halfway through writing a story only to realise it just isn’t going to work, and there isn’t anything much more frustrating to a writer than the discovery their story just can’t go anywhere.

So what can you do to decipher whether your story is any good? Ask yourself the following:

Have you sketched out the entire thing?

Making sure that your story will work is just good common sense. Whether it’s a short story or an entire novel, by sketching out the basic plot, doing chapter outlines and ensuring that you really do have an entire story there you can feel confident that it will work when you start writing it out.

Do your characters excite you?

An exciting cast of characters will make or break your story. Make sure you pay attention to every character in your story and that they all have a purpose, are intriguing and make your reader care.

Is there a journey?

Your story should take the characters and the reader on a journey. It should have ups and downs and highs and lows, and there should be obstacles that your characters need to overcome. Making sure that you have a well thought out journey will mean your story is on the right track.

How’s the pace?

Pay attention to the pacing of your story. You can tell if the pace is good just by reading over it. Are there parts that you skip over, or parts that feel tedious and slow, does too much happen too quickly? Your pace is an essential part of your story so make sure you get it right.

Can you imagine the world you have created?

Paying attention to setting and detail is another excellent way to ensure you are writing a good story. You should be able to picture the world you have created vividly. If you can’t, it suggests that something important is missing.

Are you showing or telling?

Ah, the age-old advice of 'show don’t tell'. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t directing your readers too much, or that you are making it impossible for them to immerse themselves in your story because they can hear your voice telling them what happens all the time. While there are some instances where telling is the most economical and straightforward way to relay information to your reader, if this happens too often it will be off-putting and could make your story seem bad.

By asking yourself these questions, you can decide whether your story is any good and therefore whether it is worth pursuing. Ask yourself these questions before you start and you’ll begin your story confident that it is worth writing in the first place and that you won’t be wasting your time!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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