Saturday, April 16, 2011

Notoriety and Nominations

Have you noticed how many of the popular books in today’s market aren’t masterpieces of literary fiction? Have you wondered how these writers have gained notoriety despite their heavy use of passive sentences, clichés, and inconsistencies? It’s because they know how to write fantastic stories.

We could grumble over their success, we could whine about their popularity, but it wouldn’t get us anywhere. Instead we could study how to construct a good story. We could remind ourselves the importance of research: there’s no point slaving over a novel if our story lacks originality or a place in the market. And then we could do one better than those popular authors – we could learn to avoid those clichés, passive sentences and other cringe-inducing elements.

What do you think makes up a good story?

As some of you have already noticed, my blog has been nominated for the Best Australian Blog 2011 Award. There are apparently 570 of us nominated. The Sydney Writer’s Centre is offering $7500 worth of prizes. One of the awards is the People’s Choice Award and that’s where you come in.

Please, if you think my blog is worthy
My blog is listed on the third page under ‘W’:
W.I.P. It: A Writer’s Journey – Lynda Young

I really appreciate your time and your vote. The winner will be announced on Friday 6 May 2011.

Note: This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. To learn more about the challenge click the image on my sidebar.


  1. Good luck I think you deserve it.

  2. Okay! I went forth and voted for you. Best of luck with this! :)

  3. Congratulations on the nomination! I'm off to vote for you.

    Ellie Garratt

  4. That's awesome Lynda! Congrats! I voted for ya :)

  5. Congratulations! this is so exciting. I will vote for you!

  6. How exciting, Lyn! You have my vote!

  7. Congrats Lynda!

    I just voted for you... GOOD LUCK!

  8. Yep, I voted too. Best of luck.

    good to find you.

    What makes a good story for me is something you can't stop thinking about after you've put the chapter/book down.

    My theory about why there's less literary fiction is that with the present economic climate and troubles in the world, people want something light, some escapism and nothing too heavy and overcomplicated. Life is difficult at the best of times to understand.

    Look forward to following your posts and writing

    warm wishes

  9. I've voted for you!! Good luck!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Take care

  10. Good Luck, will surely vote for you, Lynda. I love your blog and your advice and tips.

    There are two awards for you on my blog.

  11. Ah, it feels so good to vote for the best. ; )

  12. Congrats on being nominated for the award. I voted for you. Good luck.

  13. I think a good story is made up of strong characters with believable motivation and hopes; a world with detail that's realistic but different from our own in some significant way; and a plot that moves things along fast and unexpectedly. (Not necessarily in that order, though.)

    Congratulations on being nominated! :) I'll definitely vote for you. Good luck!

  14. can we vote many times? I'm voting every hour if possible :)

  15. Thank you so much for taking the time to vote. It means so much to me.

    Bluestocking Mum, welcome. That lingering quality in a story is special. I agree with your theory and I'd add to it: Life in general also has a faster pace and the popular books are quick to read.

    Rachna, two awards? wow! Thanks!

    Golden, yes, yes and yes. Great summation of what makes a good story.

    Dezzy, unfortunately you can vote only once. I appreciate your sentiment though. Thanks so much.

  16. Voted. :)

    I think it's a combo of a great story with characters many people can identify with.

    I know I keep picking those books up and studying them. And the award winners.

  17. Congrats on the nomination.

    For me a good story sucks me in and the real world around me disappears until I turn the last page.

  18. Congrats on the award. That's pretty cool.

    I can appreciate mass market commercial stories that hit the best seller. But, I love, love finding the literary commercial best seller that not only has a great story but great writing too. I aspire to that.

  19. If the story's great, then I don't notice these things. At least I didn't notice them in the Twilight series until people started complaining about them. ;)

  20. A good story is something I always try to write. I push through an idea if it's original. I can always clean up the bad writing later, if need be!

  21. Thanks so much for voting. It means a lot.

    Patricia, yes, those kind of stories are awesome.

    Laura, well, I don't actually have the award yet, but here's hoping. And yes, I love it when the two are combined--a great story well written.

    Stina, that's because she knows how to keep the pace moving forward. The Twilight story was great.

  22. Rebecca, yes, the story and its structure is the foundation of a good book. The rest can be fixed if we're patient and willing to put in the hard work.

  23. Happy to vote for you! Congrats on the nomination.

  24. I shall cast my vote for you!

  25. Congrats on being up for this award. Who knew there were so many Aussie blogs? I went in and checked it out briefly and will come back.


    Aussie Travel Blog A_Z Challenge

  26. You make very good points. Admittedly, I'm not a good enough person or writer to get past the green-eyed monster. Perhaps I'll work on it, while bashing all those crappy romance novels that generate a huge percentage of book sale revenue.

    Thanks for the follow. I'm honored to return the favor and am off to vote for you.


  27. I voted for you!

    Also, I gave you an award over at my blog. :-) Stop by to pick it up!

  28. For me a good story is one the stays with me and makes me think, but entertains me while I'm reading it.

    Tossing It Out

  29. Happy to vote for you, Lynda. Good luck.

  30. Keeping the reader in suspense is a skill that makes a great story for me...

    Duncan In Kuantan

  31. Congrats on the nonination, put my mark for you with pleasure,

    Thanks for the comment.

  32. Again, thank you so much for the votes.

    L'Aussie, it's a shame they don't have links to all the blogs because I'd love to meet more Aussie bloggers.

    Robyn, hahaha it's only natural (the green eyed monster)

    Kiernan, thanks so much for the Versatile Blogger award :)

  33. Lee, yes! Exactly! They are the ones we remember

    Duncan, suspense is a real page-turner. We have to know what's going to happen next.

  34. For what it's worth I voted for you too!

  35. Good luck with the nomination :O)

  36. Congrats on being nominated, that's fantastic - I voted for you!

    I've read a couple of real page-turners recently where the writing wasn't *bad* but it was kind of plain. But because the plots were so great and so much happened, if they'd been full of pretty writing and gorgeous descriptions and similes - well, they would've gone on twice as long, and the hurtling pace would've been lost. Sometimes you can't have everything.

  37. To me, a great story is about characters who I feel a connection with, triumphing over great odds - and that little moment where something that didn't make sense suddenly clicks into focus and you go "Oh, of course!!"

    I'm starting up a 'Critiquing Crusaders' program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form critiquing circles. If you're interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

  38. Al, it's worth a lot. Thank you.

    Girl Friday, thanks so much. You make an excellent point. Pace is important and sometimes 'fancy' writing will slow down the pace.

    Kelworthfiles, yes, relatable and interesting characters so important. The critique exchange program sounds great.

  39. I like a story with compelling characters, lots of believable action, wonderful long as it takes me away, I'm good.

    Voted for you, good luck!

  40. For me, a good story need only do one thing: it makes me care about the character(s). If I'm invested in his or her experience, I'll keep reading.

    And I voted for you! Good luck!!!

  41. A good story needs to suck me in and make me forget about the dishes, laundry, and other stuff I should be doing instead of reading.

    Good luck! Love your blog!

  42. Wow, congrats! This Aussie's off to vote for you now!

  43. How cool, Lynda! I just voted for you! You deserve it.

  44. All the best, I just voted for you!

  45. LG Smith, Amie, Laura, Nas, thank you so much! I appreciate it.

    Words Crafter, yep, I love the escapism in novels too. And thanks so much.

    Tonja, I love the books I can't put down too :)

  46. I think all authors talk about the same issues (love-relationships-death-power). What makes some books stand from the crowd, is the way those issues are presented and developed.

    And of course, I voted for you!

  47. Maria, thanks so much for your vote. Thanks too for the retweets.

    Stacy, thanks heaps


I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.