How I define a Good Story

Art can be a bit subjective. What we each consider beautiful is much a part of who we are. I recently finished a YA Fantasy Series and an adult Urban Fantasy novel back to back. I was surprised at how much I loved the YA Series and how uninterested I was in the Adult Urban Fantasy even though I considered it pretty well written with an interesting Magical World. I brought it up with my husband and this was my conclusion… written poetically.

It was in the middle of our discussion

that I realized it wasn’t romance that I longed for

in stories dark and grim,

but friendship and family burning bright,

united in love and striving against the shadows crowding in.

Romance fades. Passions shift. They turn to gossamer mist in the hot fires of life.

But friendship stays.

Friendship grows the stronger in the flames.

Family stands.

Together, bound, braced back to back against the encroaching night.

This echoes my own story. It wasn’t romance, all tingles of the skin and turning of the stomach, that remained during the dirt and grime of this pilgrimage, but friendship and family. It wasn’t melting, gooey world-defined-love, but strong, self-sacrificing, choice-making love that stayed when the pain passed.

That is what resonates with me.

That is what I seek in stories of every form.

That is the magic of the soul, one to the other.

Friendship. Family. Love.

I see it in a dwarf and elf, in cousins be they ever so small, in mighty warriors, and humble kings. I see this in three friends year after year, time after time, facing the worst of their kind. I see this in a group searching for home and finding it together. I see this in three siblings learning they are more than they think, bound by their love. I see this in a crew facing the darkness of space, in a band of brothers, in a father and son learning to love each other as they add a wife/daughter to their family. Over and over, the stories I love, have more friendship and family than romance.

They reach beyond that fleeting passion to grasp something enduring.

Friendship. Family. Love.