Sometimes when I read a story, I find that it’s just “bleh.” It may be easy to understand, easy to follow, but I have a hard time identifying any real virtues.
For example, when you write a story, look at your dialog. Are there any quotable lines in it?
If you go to IMDB.com (the internet movie database) and look up a movie, the site will list ratings by customer reviews, but it will also show favorite quotes from the movie. For example, from Mad Max: Fury Road:
Max Rockatansky: You know, hope is a mistake. If you can't fix what's broken, you'll go insane.
Nux:[In the midst of a massive, violent sandstorm, after witnessing his fellow WarBoys sucked off the War Rig into a vortex] Oh, what a day... what a lovely day!
Nux: I live, I die. I LIVE AGAIN!
Max Rockatansky: [Narrating] My name is Max. My world is fire and blood. Once, I was a cop. A road warrior searching for a righteous cause. As the world fell, each of us in our own ways were broken. It was hard to tell who was more crazy... me... or everyone else.
Might I suggest that when you finish your own short story, novel, or screenplay, you look at your dialog and ask yourself, “Do my characters have any quotable lines?”
Or perhaps look at your own descriptions and ask, do I have any memorable descriptions here? Do I have any beautiful similes or metaphors? What about a gripping hook at the beginning of my story or the end of my scenes?
If there is nothing memorable about your story, guess what? You’ve attained mediocrity. Don’t let that happen. You might have the bare form of a tale, but you might need to work to make it superb. Let that be your goal.
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