What Makes a Good Story?

On the back of a shirt I have the statement: Writer Looking for a Good Story. In other words, when I’m out among people, I would like people to share their best story. So far I haven’t worked out the process, but I’ll keep at it. And here would be the time for you to write to me with your best story.  elkfarm@wctc.net

The natural question would be, What makes a story good, what makes it great? A person could describe and list attributes, but the best way to define a good story is to tell a good story. The following story is 100% true.

In my hometown of Amery, a farming community, a farmer’s wife died a number of years ago. This man wasn’t wealthy, but he spent carefully and had money that eventually helped fund a humane shelter in Amery and other programs. After his wife died, neighbors, relatives, and church members brought him hot-dishes, pies, bread products, and cakes. Overwhelmed with gratitude, he kept track of the people who showed love in the form of food. The man wasn’t used to receiving help because he seldom needed it in the past.

Years later after his death, in his will he gave specific instructions for the money he left behind (the couple had no children). Along with the big programs that would help the Amery area, he left instructions to give something to the people who showed kindness and love after his wife’s death.

Using that list, he asked the executors of his will to give a $1,000 check to all of them. Each person who came forward who gave him something, and paid him a visit, he rewarded. That’s gratitude. That’s a legacy.

 

 

3 Replies to “What Makes a Good Story?”

  1. Joanne Sorenson says: Reply

    I really liked that one!!! I have a lot of good ones….I will try to send a few soon.

    1. Yes, Joanne. If you want, just send the core of an idea, a “plot” of sorts. The one I’m working on now is the guy who goes around innocently asking his friends and relatives how much they would give him if they won a million dollars. Of course he’ll get anywhere from nothing or a quarter to maybe $1000. You guessed it. He has already won, and he spends a couple days visiting those friends and giving them cash for what they declared to give.
      The farmer in the Amery story was so unique, and though I didn’t know him I, as you, could picture people who would do that.

      1. Joanne, don’t send several. Think of one or two in the next week, I’d appreciate that, and more later as you have time. Or how about this: Hit me with your best story, lady!!!!!

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