What makes stories work?

I’ve started slush reading for Lightspeed Magazine recently, helping to wade through the many stories they receive each day, and offer my thoughts and opinions, in order to help the editor (our lord and savior John Joseph Adams), figure out which would be best for the magazine.

It’s been enlightening more often than not. It’s been teaching me a lot about story structure, narration, dialogue, character, narrative logic, and more. But more importantly, it’s been making me ask a very important question:

What is it that makes a story work?

I thought I knew, but that answer might be changing.

So I guess the question for you all this week is, what makes a story work for you? Can you forgive some things if what’s working works well? What has to be there for a story to be a major success?

Stay cool, cowboys.


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