|Topic: Write a brief essay of about 500 words on the central characteristics that, in your view, contribute to a successful or satisfying story. Use any or all of the module1 stories as examples to illustrate your ideas. You may, if you wish, also refer to other short stories you’re familiar with. You’re free to borrow or adapt any of the ideas introduced in Module1. Or you may introduce your own ideas you’re entirely free in the selection of story features to write about.
Many people read books, and they perceive truths and realize ideals from them. In turn, readers are given to discussions about the topic of a book they recently finished, or they may recommend to other people books that made a strong impression on them. Why do people regard some books as important and make them into a guidebook for their lives? The reason is that books enlighten people and teach them essential things they need to carry out, understand, or enjoy their lives. Nevertheless, it is not true that all people like all books; in other words, a good story has something special, often its central characteristics, such as the plot or the theme. These are the indispensable features of a good story because these features have to be well harmonized to create a reading experience beloved by their readers.
To take our first example, a compressed and tightly knit plot is an important element in a good story. If the main characters inhabit a believable and interesting situation, it makes readers think. Otherwise they would not read the story, or if they did, the reader might feel an antipathy toward the work. Also, the good story must process the main characters’ conflicts through to a resolution. This gives readers courage that they could accomplish similar feats, or it can widen readers’ viewpoints through an indirect experience. For example, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” describes the emotional illness of the main character; thus it arouses readers’ minds, provides an indirect experience, or even gives courage to those who have a family member suffering from a similar emotional illness.
Secondly, the successful work possesses a clear theme, another indispensable element of a good story. If the story could not cause readers to realize or perceive something from it, the story will be remembered and will fade away from the readers’ minds, no matter how interesting the plot is or how colorful the characters. However if the theme is too complex and complicated, readers may become confused. A good story has to transmit its theme clearly, otherwise readers feel no emotion but nihilism (at least in terms of the tale), and furthermore they would stop reading the books of that writer. For example, Alice Munro’s “Royal Beatings” is interesting and deals with a unique material, but its theme is not so clear, causing readers to often become confused.
Therefore, although there are many features that a good story must provide in order to be successful as a tale and a reading experience, the plot and the theme are the most important features among them. Specifically, these features have to be well harmonized to create that unique and perfect moment we think of as a perfect reading experience; if one feature is too superior or too weak, it cannot be a good story. Things which impress the readers and cause them to realize something from the story are the purpose of reading; therefore, their existence is the precondition for a good story.