Tag Archives: Second Wind authors

What are the essential qualities of a good story? — by Pat Bertram

The most important quality of a good story is the ability to take readers somewhere else and make them glad they went. It’s also essential to make the writing easy to read, which means the writing must be grammatically correct. Nothing takes an experienced reader out of a story faster than having to decipher convoluted sentences with improper punctuation. Ideally, a story should leave readers a bit better off than they were before, either because of what they learned about the world and themselves, or because of the respite from their everyday lives.

Here are some responses from others Second Wind authors about the essential qualities of a good story. The comments are taken from interviews posted here: Author Interviews

From an interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

The hook is the essential part of a story; with a good hook, the reader won’t want to put a book down. I try to draw the reader in immediately with a one-two punch.

From an interview with Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies

I want the main characters to have a “quest.” The quest can be a real journey or one in their heads and if there’s mystery involved all the better.

From an interview with J. Conrad Guest, author of One Hot January

For me, the most essential quality of a good story is characters with whom I can connect. Finding a good story to write is easy; but writing about characters the reader cares about is more difficult. Hannibal Lecter is one of the most demented characters ever conceived, yet he was fascinating, a train wreck away from which we want to look but can’t.

From an interview with Eric Wasserman, Author of Celluloid Strangers

I want stories that make me think and feel long after they end. I’ve read beautifully written stories that make me think and feel absolutely nothing. It may sound strange, but I am absolutely willing to forgive a poorly written or clumsily constructed story if it makes me think and feel something profound.

So, what, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? by Pat Bertram

Most writers claim they write only to entertain, and yet messages do creep into our books whether we will it or not. A few messages ended up in my novels: nothing is as it seems, we are not necessarily who we think we are, history did not necessarily happen the way we think it did, and what we see is not necessarily the truth. But all that was more of a side effect. Mostly I just wanted to write good stories with good characters that I would have loved to read.

Here are some messages that crept into other books by Second Wind authors:

From an Interview with Mickey Hoffman, Author of “Deadly Traffic”

The message in Deadly Traffic is that on hot button issues like immigration, we all like to think we have a strong grip on right and wrong, but when it’s down to working reality, things are often not as easy to decide.

From an Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

Trust no one.

From an interview with J. Conrad Guest, Author of “January’s Thaw”

The January books are composed of a number of messages. In January’s Paradigm the reader learns that there are people in the world—men and women alike—who are not very nice, and that men don’t have a corner on the mean market. Men, too, can be hurt through a woman’s infidelity. One Hot January shows that no government is benign and that we must care about a world we will not see. While January’s Thaw is largely about redemption, that it’s never too late to close the door on the past and to live in the moment, for tomorrow.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? Did a message show up inadvertently?

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Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Filed under books, fiction, Pat Bertram, writing