Writing Notes: What Makes a Story Resonate?

This is such a subjective question, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot in terms of my own writing…and in trying to come up with an answer, in terms of what books resonate with me as well. I’m always mystified at some of the things that readers connect to in my books, as well as some of the things they react to negatively, but in a very strong way. Honestly, I love it when people get drawn into my stories deep enough to have strong feelings one way or the other about it. I feel like I’ve done my job when that happens.

One thing that really resonates with me probably more than anything else is character motivations. Why people make the choices they make and how that affects everything around them fascinates me on the page just as much as it does off the page, but as a writer I think it’s one of the hardest things to show the reader well. I think that’s mostly because motivations and emotions are messy and often jumbled, and sometimes an action that makes perfect sense to the person performing it makes no sense whatsoever to anyone around them.

What makes a story resonate with you? Is it the people, the settings, a twisty plot? What are the things you remember about a good book long after when you can’t even remember the title or author anymore?  


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One comment on “Writing Notes: What Makes a Story Resonate?

  1. Ardee-ann Eichelmann

    The characters are what make a story resonate for me. If they are wooden or lifeless I don’t care how good the plot is, the story is a bust. Warm, rich, lively characters give the book spice and life…they bring the story to my attention and make it seem real to me.

    Cheers,

    Ardee-ann