Fiction and Story

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In a short story there are characteristics that are central to making it a successful story. Two of the main features that make a story enjoyable are a captivating and interesting plot and the focus of a story on a single character. These two features are essential to a good story for two reasons, an interesting plot makes for an engaging read and the development of one main character gives the reader a chance to experience a more life-like, revealing look into a characters’ life.

A captivating and interesting plot is one main feature of any story that makes it a success. In Alice Munroe’s “Royal Beatings,” the reader is almost immediately captivated by the first line, “Royal beating. That was Flo’s promise.” This first line draws the reader into the story with a hint of what is to come. A fascinating plot consists of some tension, and a climax. In “Royal Beatings,” there is tension in the events that build up to the climax, the scene in which Rose gets her “royal beating” from her father. What also made “Royal Beatings” interesting was the relationship between Rose and her stepmother and Rose and her two daughters. The reader gets an impression of Rose’s relationship with Flo in her early life, “There was a long truce between Flo and Rose in the beginning. Rose’s nature was growing like a prickly pineapple, but slowly, and secretly, hard pride and skepticism overlapping, to make something surprising even to herself.” Later when Rose is a mother herself she thinks about her own parenting skills, “We disliked the heavy, the uninventive, approach to being parents. I had a dread of turning into a certain kind of mother…” The relationships in Rose’s life and her own self-reflection make for an interesting plot.

Another feature of a satisfying story is character development focusing on a single character. Although a short story has several characters that support the story, the development of a main character makes it successful. In Munroe’s “Royal Beatings,”...
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