Many people have their own set of rules that they consider when determining if something is a good piece of work. Whether it be a short story, a television episode, a novel or even a movie, there is something deeply hidden within it that give people a feeling or emotion to moves them to recommend it to a friend.
While not really fair, many writers know some little tricks that can aid in the development of your fondness for that story. One trick that I know near and dear to my heart, is the killing off of a likable character. Some writers hate this part of the story development. Others, know that this is critical to the plot and for the reader to experience some sort of loss.
Aspiring authors come to me often asking for advice about their story. I am not a literary agent, but I do know what makes good writing, great writing. I usually will ask for a short 30 second overview of chapter 1 and then ask the plot. What happens and why would I want to read more? You can find out so much in the first chapter. In many classic stories there is always a “hook” in the first chapter. Something exciting happens, there is a discovery, maybe someone dies right away. Whatever it is, something is there to draw you into the story. Did you know in the classic story Psycho, it is not about a motel, but about a large some of money?
If someone is writing about their life story, I ask if it is actually an autobiography? Are you telling me your life, or are you painting a picture so I am so deep lost in your past thoughts and words I forget that I am only a bystander? Or am I living your greatest accomplishments over and over again as I FEEL your words and emotions?
Many writers will tell you what happen. Few are talented word smiths who can really make you feel attachment to their characters. Some will let you live in their world, seeing, hearing, and smelling all of the ambiance of that virtual reality.