Reblogged from Eye-Dancers
What makes a story great? What makes a movie, or a novel, unforgettable? Nonstop action? A fantastic and imaginative plot? A surprise, twist ending? Romance? Incredible special effects, or descriptions of those effects, if in book form?
Certainly these elements can lend themselves to a great story. And–especially for a short story or a short television episode–sometimes a clever plot or a shock ending is enough. A short work such as “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, for example, is memorable in large part because of its theme, its plot, and its impact as a story that tackles the issue of blind adherence to tradition, to doing things just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”
But for a novel, an ongoing television series, or a movie–the one thing that is essential is character. Without at least one highly developed character we can learn to love (or hate), any long story will fall a little flat. It can still be entertaining, fun, a wonderful adventure. But it won’t resonate the same way a story with effective characters will. All the great films and novels have characters who reach us, touch us, and leave a lasting impression.
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