What Is Needed To Write A Great Story

Basically what every great writer should do when writing the characters is giving them a sense of autonomy. In this way, the characters become less as avatars for the author and more of a human being in the eyes of the reader. They especially become more human when their circumstances and conflicts have lots of gravity, in terms of how genuinely disadvantaged they are. For this reason, the "Song of Ice and Fire" series defined this decade because there are a lot of stakes put on every point-of-view character regardless of their noble status (or even because of their noble status).

What definitely made Shakespeare separate from his Elizabethan contemporaries was that although there were hints of pro-Anglican pro-Tudor propaganda in his plays, what really defined his work was that his characters had their own personalities. Even characters that were meant to represent stereotypes managed to entice sympathy from the audience.

Even the villains and anti-heroes serve a purpose in showing the human creature in his most rawest form, either through developing intricate rationalizations for their actions or highlighting the conditions that led them to their positions in the first place. Shakespeare especially kept these in mind when writing characters who are outsiders in their societies. Even when heroes are outsiders in the exact same ways the Shakespearean anti-heroes and villains are, their arcs become more realistic since the sources of the conflicts come from their own identities, to paraphrase the YouTuber Just Write.

Though realism has a limit before the gory and offensive shlock devolves the story into the level of grimdark. In this way, it is not enough to have "good" plots or characters, rather they need to be balanced among each other. Their values would need to be cohesively symbiotic and interdependent in order to have the story make sense.

The story must achieve a level of suspense that keeps the reader clutching the fringes. In order to do this, it is important to create subversions. That was what made George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series so compelling, as it destroyed the readers' preconceived idea of fantasy.

But in order to have subversions, there would also have to have been conventions in place in the first place, which would lead to the creation of a canon. One of the issues that was discussed in my graduate Literary Theory course was whether the canon was important or not. In the post-modern criticism, the canon is seen as only favoring certain people while disadvantaging everyone else. In the case of the feminist Jane Tompkins in her essay "Masterpiece Theater: The Politics of Hawthorne's Literary Reputation," Nathaniel Hawthorne is only part of the literary canon because the literary authority at the time were just like Hawthorne--rich, white men; while the Marxist literary theorist John Guillory in "The Canon as Cultural Capital" argued that the canon only serves the purpose of establishing a national identity based on replacing the English literature with the declining religiosity meant to make citizens subservient to the state.

Based on these interpretations, the argument that is definitely made in the post-modern era is that the canon is representative of oppression. Though, Toni Morrison in her essay "Black Matter(s)" argued that American literature, just as well as American history, is shaped by conflict between white and African-Americans. She concluded her essay by asserting that this paradox creates a rich complexity to American literature.

The issue of time can change the value behind a literary work, whether when it is first published or one century afterwards. In his video about what type of music album would be considered a 10/10, Anthony Fantano, who refers music on his YouTube channel "theneedledrop," explained how a meaning behind giving an album a score would be subjective based on time. So relevance would be a major component of the value of a literary work.

In order to instill the relevance, there would be literary descendants that would spring from the inspirations of future writers. In the case of Tolkien, his "Lord of the Rings" series is considered great literature in party because of the authors he inspired such as Ursula Le Guin, Christopher Paolini, and George R. R. Martin. So a great story would be considered great by future generations.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Everyone remembers the first time they went to one of the Disney parks. Spinning in teacups and having Goofy wrap his arms around my 8-year-old self were some of my fondest childhood memories, and I'm surely not alone in that.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 BBQ Essentials Every Vegan Should Bring To Avoid Summer Cookout FOMO

You'll have your whole family drooling when you bring these goodies over too.

All vegetarians and vegans can relate when I say this: summer barbecues aren't fun when there's nothing you can eat.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments