top of page
  • Writer's pictureSophia Dunkin-Hubby

What Makes a Story Great?

Sophia Dunkin-Hubby sitting on a couch surrounded by pillows reading Magic Study by Maria Snyder.

What's gone on this week

More writing than last week. Hooray! Sometimes you hit a stride and just have to go for it. It felt really good to have words flowing, especially after a slow start. The rest of the week was pretty quiet so I got to spend time reading. I'm in the middle of Magic Study by Maria Snyder. It's the second book of six and it got me thinking. What makes a really good story?

I'm specifically thinking about books, but the question applies to all kinds of stories. When I think about my absolute favorite books, the ones that keep me up late reading and that I want to read again and again, what is it about them that makes them so amazing? The characters. Nonstop action. The world. Mythology. Romance. Witty Dialog. You could argue that great books not only have all of these elements, but do them really well. I'm not so sure.

The books that I've loved most in the past five year are both parts of series - A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. While they both have a lot of the elements mentioned above there is something about these that sets them above others for me. Is it the elements working together or is there one element that is they key? I want to be sucked into a fascinating world and be able to put myself into the characters shoes as I read. But would that be enough to make a story amazing instead of really good?

I don't have an answer nor do I think there's a formula. I just know it when I see it. What do you think? What do you look for in a great story?

Garden Update

Seedlings are still growing. It's about two to three months from germination to flowering for these varieties. I planted them about a month ago. I've never grown things from seed so I can't tell if those estimates are accurate or how much longer it can take. Hard to believe that the first will flower in a little over a month. The Cosmos will be ready for pinching soon. The Calendula on the other hand are no where near. (The Nasturtiums don't require pinching.)

Three terracotta pots on the wooden railing of a balcony holding seedlings of (bottom to top) Cosmos, Calendula, and Nasturtiums.

My begonias are starting to flower. I bought both of them last year, both of the angel wing variety, a small red and large pink. The pink one flowered and flowered last year. I'm hoping to coax it into flowering like that again, but with the slightly cooler than usual summer weather (I'm not complaining) I'm not sure.

A terracotta pot with a red angel wing begonia.
An angel wing begonia showing the tip of a pink blossom.

What I'm loving lately

I saw this article on Architectural Digest's website about a tiny traveling bookstore in France. The owner drives around to small towns and villages that don't have bookstores throughout the year. How cool is that?!

I've also been taking afternoon walks on Sundays the last couple of weeks. I listen to an audio book or podcast and walk around my neighborhood. There are lots of large trees in the area and I've found myself fascinated by the tree canopies - their structure and the way the light filters through. I return feeling blissful and it's a really nice way to end the week.

Word Count


Photos by Sophia Dunkin-Hubby

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

A Toolkit for the Muddy Middle

My friends and I have been talking about the middle of our stories, specifically how muddy it can be. When I first started writing I didn't understand why people would call it that. Until I got stuck


bottom of page