[Note of attention] This article was entirely written from my subjective point of view and by no means do I wish to imply with it that other people's point of view may be wrong or do not matter for others.
~ What is the best story? ~
Every writer's dream is to write a good story and reach the top of the Best Selling list, or is it?
No matter the reason we write, be it for glory, fame, or a few more coins in the butterfly-filled wallet, we all want to give to our readers that which we call a good story.
But many of you will probably ask: why not the BEST?
Simple. Just think about what [best] means in the dictionary: of the most excellent or desirable type or quality.
This word is tricky, but in the definition, we are given two variables through which we can define it. Type and Quality are the main factors. Thus, when you say 'Best Story', you have to immediately ask: Out of what categories? Out of what SIMILAR stories?
Why should we answer these questions?
Well, can you say that a Sci Fi story is the same as a Fantasy or Contemporary Supernatural one? No... Different genres, different laws which govern the plot, different societies and mental patterns which apply to each of them, not to mention different character abilities and environments. Above all, they have different writing styles. You most likely noticed the old fashioned way of narrating and dialog structuring in some Fantasy books as opposed to the more neologism-filled version of the Sci Fi ones.
It's the same as saying: I like The Lord of the Rings, but the Foundation is better.
From this, I can only deduce the following: you enjoy Sci Fi more than you do Fantasy. That's it.
However, if you want, you could then give a more detailed answer by comparing the psychological evolution of the characters. This means looking at how the author manages to describe the way his characters behave and if those actions could be considered logical and normal from a psychological point of view.
For example: if a character goes through a shocking event, you expect them to have a certain reaction to it, not just be all like “Meh. Stuff happened, let's move on.” Especially when the said character is known to be emotionally unstable.
Another thing you could compare between the two are the technical details such as the way the events of the story flow (chaotic, fast, slow, extra-mega-uber-slow, etc), the way the plot progresses (events are tied together and each moment matters; or the first 70% of the book is a filler for the action that takes place in the last 30% and there's no connection whatsoever between the two), and go further into detail when it comes to the structure of sentences in the story and other stuff like that (extra details for descriptions, skips over them, barely any description at all, just enough to not take away from the flow of the action).
As you can see, there were many ways to compare two different books belonging to two different genres, but comparing the two genres themselves is a big 'NO'. Therefore, unless you dabble only in the technical stuff, the 'best book' can only be from a CERTAIN predefined genre, but even then you need to add secondary conditions to further define it.
When I say more conditions, think about the tags on it: Romance, Action, Adventure, etc.
Taking a book that focuses on Romance and expecting it to do well in the Action and Adventure department is a bit hard. Therefore, it would be best to compare Epic Fantasy with Epic Fantasy, Romance Fantasy with Romance Fantasy and so on. The more Tags you add, the more you can accurately compare the Quality of the two.
Therefore, if you have two stories with similar tags on them, you can certainly find out which one of them is the best. However, when you compare two books from the same genres, without taking into account what it focuses on, don't complain about it's lacking parts. A story that focuses on Romance may not have just as much Tragedy, Action, and Adventure as you may want, but it may have a lot of unwanted Drama, which in other stories is left either to the background to be solved or not at all.
Lastly, when you have all of these details marked down, the best story ends up being the one capable of connecting better with you. In other words, it's a completely subjective matter. One million critics can decide a story to be 'not the best', but for one reader, it may be 'the best'. As such, the price tag and it's position on a 'best selling' list may not make it 'the best' out of all those in its category.
So, as an author, when you write a story and you are thinking about making it the 'Best', do be careful in what category you want it to be 'the best', otherwise, I would suggest to focus more on simply writing a 'good story' and let others judge if it may be 'the best' or not. In the end, for a few readers, it may very well be the best story there is, and that's the important thing!
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this article! I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned something new! 🙂
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