A funny and ironic consequence of writing this particular column is that I had to rewrite it a few times. I’m my own worst critic.
That’s the topic here: criticism. Judgement and how to do it properly. So I realized I’ve done a few of these criticism pieces (Recently Read: Tom Hanks) and all I did was throw in some subjective stuff about whether I liked the book, or not. Nothing really wrong with subjective stuff, is there? Except, a person reading the critique might not have any way to measure my self-proclaimed enjoyment.
“Did you like like it, or just kind of like it? And how close to love is your like anyway?”
With that in mind, I also thought about the generic 5 star system. How do you get anything out of that, other than more subjective criticism. If each star is without measurement stats, then the 4 stars for one person could mean 5 stars for another. It’s sloppy and without standard.
Thinking about what, in my mind, makes a great story, I came up with 7 things a story needs to truly be great.
- Drawing power: Does the story pull you in and make you feel as if you’re part of the world?
- Interest factor: Is the story something you want to hear, see, know? Are you craving to discover how it ends?
- Offensive factor: Does it present sex, violence, cursing too abundantly or too vividly? Does it present a querulous agenda?
- Range of emotion: Is the story serious when necessary? Do the jokes come at appropriate times? Does the story present emotions at pleasing intervals?
- Character factor: Are there good actors (not necessarily famous ones) in the film? Are there quality protagonists/antagonists in the literary work? Is there a quality dynamic between the characters? Is the narrator mostly invisible?
- Style: Does the film use sloppy-cam? Does the literary work use loose plot lines? Are all the words in the right places? Are all the props in the right scenes?
- Proper length: Does a fantasy world require multiple manuscripts? Does a dystopian world beg to be spartan or truncated?