Lily’s Ponderings on Story Categories

 

Ever the over-thinker, I have pondered long and hard over the years about writing, the power of the written word, muses, and also reactions from readers.

I want to share some of my conclusions with you.

In broad terms, I think stories can be sorted into four main categories (in my original theory there were only three, but then a great friend set me straight by offering up Category 1)

CATEGORY 1

WTHDIB

or

Why The Hell Did I Bother?

This is the category that has you scratching your head, wondering how and why you saw it through to the end. It’s for those stories that have no substance, (even PWP can have something) It’s for those novels that have you grinding your teeth in frustration, desperately hoping it will get better, but then it doesn’t, and it leaves you asking yourself why you just didn’t stop after the 2nd chapter!

It’s the written equivalent of the ‘B’ Grade movie that you just seem to have to watch to the dismal end.

***

CATEGORY 2

MEH

MEH stories slot into my second category. These stories are nice, pleasant to read, but they don’t move my emotions to the extreme.  They don’t require much from me as a reader. I would liken them to cotton candy – sweet, but they don’t satiate my hunger.

MEH stories may be nice and lovely, but within a week of having finished them, I’m struggling to remember any details about the plot or characters.

***

CATEGORY 3

OMG I FLURVE IT!

And now we come to Category 3, OMG I FLURVE IT!

Now this category touches something deep inside me; whether it’s to spark a wistful memory, help me relive a wonderful event in my mind, have me long to experience what the character(s) are feeling, or just want or jump for joy.  These fics are so beautifully written and deeply emotive, they are like a drug.

These novels, you can read again and again, enjoying them as much, and perhaps, even more, in your subsequent reads as you did in your first.

These stories become your own personal “classics.”

***

CATEGORY 4

OMG WTF!

Lastly, there is the OMG WTF!  These stories have me gritting my teeth in an effort to stop myself from hitting my head against the nearest wall, and/or sending out a hit squad to the author’s place of work… These are the stories and characters, I love to hate.  They drive me crazy, and yet, I find myself frantically turning the page, seeking more. I’m gobbling up the author’s words, even as I’m howling with frustration.

Like the OMG I FLURVE IT! category, these stories stay with you, and remain on your bookshelf, surviving every “culling” process… even if you’re not brave enough to read them a second time!

I’ve decided, as a writer, I’m going to strive to make my stories fall into one of the OMG categories, because as nice as some of the MEH stories are; they aren’t memorable.  A month after I’ve read them I would be hard put to even remember their title, let alone any other details.

The OMG categories, though, they are the stories that stay with you, be it the whole story, or merely one scene, or even just one sentence.  They are the ones you remember 5 or 10 years down the line.  They are the ones you quote, ponder on, and re-read.

So to all the authors out there that have sparked debate and heated discussion, who have inspired rave reviews and flames, be proud and pleased because you are obviously creating an OMG!

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