Lola’s Ramblings: What do you like to see in stories?

Posted October 15, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 18 Comments


Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me or ramble on about a book or non-book related topic. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

The last two weeks I talked about what I like to see in romance and characters. This week it’s time for stories. Which is always one of the first alinea’s in my reviews. A good story can really make or break a book and while I am pretty flexible with the topic of the story, there certainly are certain ways to hook me with a story.

What do I like to see in stories?

  • Mamachari MatchmakerGood Writing Style. Ofcourse this is very subjective and not easy to explain in words, but there are certain authors who just have the right writing style. The way they write just immediately hooks me to the story. Finding an author who’s writing style I like is one of the best feelings in the world. As liking the writing style makes it so much easier to get into a book and enjoy it.
  • Pace. When it comes to pace, I am pretty flexible. I like slow paced books and I like fast paced books, but what’s most important is that the pace fits the story. Sometimes it just feels like things are going too slow and it fails to keep me engaged, but there are also books where the slow pace works really well as there’s still enough happening (see next point). Same goes with fast pace, a fast paced book can be a lot of fun to read, but when things go so fast you lose track of the story, it’s a bad things.
  • Enough events/ things happening. I feel that when a book is slow or fails to capture my attention it’s usually more due to not enough things happening than the actual pace. The main plot lines can further slowly as long as the scenes are still interesting and there are still things going. So yes I like my stories with lots of events or scenes and things going on.
  • Plot is going somewhere. This one is related to the previous one. I want the plot and story to go somewhere, I want there to be change or progression, not just have the characters sit around and do nothing. I like it when the world or characters change and things happen. A good way to keep me invested in the story is when the plot goes somewhere and changes happen.
  • Destiny RisingForeshadowing/ build-up. I love foreshadowing in books, it doesn’t matter whether I already know where the foreshadowing is for or if that stay a mystery for a long time. There are some books where you only notice the foreshadowing after the event has hapened and I love how you can look back and notice the plot was working towards the ven the whole time. Same goes with build-up I like it when I feel the plot is building towards an event.
  • Enjoy the story. Sometimes it’s hard to exactly explain why or what you like, but a story just works for you. I want to be able to enjoy the story.
  • Make me Care. One reason why I DNF books is when I don’t care about the plot or characters. I want to care about what is going to happen next and be invested in the book.
  • Plot Twists. I love me some plot twist, I like being surprised at the direction a story goes or when things happen that I didn’t see coming. I like being impressed by cleverly done plot twists. I often mention this in my reviews and think plot twists are a good thing.
  • No drama for the sake of having drama. I don’t mind drama in books, in fact I might even like it most of the time, but I do want there to be real drama, not drama simply added because they need drama or because someone doesn’t say something or lied. I want drama because of something that happens or happened, the situation they are in etc.
  • Daemons in the MistMakes Sense. I want the story to make sense. What I mean is that I want to be able to understand what’s happening and why and that the story flow naturally in a way that makes sense to the reader. That the way things are make sense and you can see how things got to that point. I don’t want to be confused when reading as that can take me out of the story.
  • Keep Reading Feel. I love stories that have that keep reading feel. Where I want to know what happens next and have a hard time putting the book down. It’s definitely a good thing is a book has this.
  • Multiple Point of View. I am a big fan of multiple point of views as that means we get to know multiple characters and it often means I can better understand why characetrs to the things they do. I often like a story more simply because it has multiple point of views. Although I also think that multiple point of view isn’t always a good thing. I have read books were the voices are too similiar or hard to keep apart or when the pov switches at cliffhangers every time. So it can be a challenge to have multiple point of views done right.
  • originality. I like books that have an original plot, when the plot is different than what I read beore or even when the story is written or executed in an original way.

A good story doesn’t need to have all of these, but these are the things I like seeing in books and most likely will mention in my review. Often only one of these in a story is already a good thing and will make it much more likely that I enjoy the book.

What do you like to see in stories?


18 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: What do you like to see in stories?

  1. For me, conflict can either make or break the book. I love a nice strong conflict in my books, but it has to be built on something substantial. I don’t what conflict just for the drama of it, I want it used as a way to bring the readers closer to the characters. I want to see them struggle and know that they are worthy of overcoming their conflict.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…The Professional by Addison FoxMy Profile

  2. I love how you are doing these posts that are so thought provoking. I don’t analyze things much and I’ve used this as an exercise to analyze my reading habits.

    Yes, I always know that when I say a story is ‘well-written’ that I am being subjective. Although there are many times that a well-written story isn’t for me or it takes me more than one book to adjust to a persons writing style. I tend to make allowances for how writing style feels more comfortable in various genres. Just as pacing preferences might depend on genres (I expect fast pace in an action thriller and a gentle pace in a cozy mystery). Though I do prefer when a story develops things along the way.
    Agreed about the drama and conflict being a good thing so long as it isn’t just there as a device or gimmick. Some books could be so much shorter if the characters bothered to communicate.
    I don’t mind single or multiple person narrative or first or third person point of view depending on how it suits the story.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Live by Gillian Zane #ReviewMy Profile

    • That’s part of the reason I write this post, to think more about my own reading habbits. And as these are all things I focus on in my reviews I thought it would be good to do a post about each of them.

      Even though well-written is subjective, I still think it is valuable to mention and can tell something about how you enjoyed the book. And yes I’ve also had well written stories that just didn’t fully work for me even though it was well written. I see what you mean with how the pacing depends on the genre, with a cozy mystery I do expect a slower pace and les action focussed as with a thriller. Although there are also genres were both works.

      I want a real drama and conflict, not just something born out of miscommunication, those situations always rub me wrong. And the narrative or point of view does depends on how it suits the story, it’s more that third person perspective always takes me a few pages to get used to, which is okay, but that’s why I prefer first person perspective as it feels a bit more natural to me. And I love it when an author can pull of a well done multiple point of view, although a good single pov is awesome too I am less liekly to mention that in a review.
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  3. I agree. A story needs a good plot with a good pace. I read a lot of action books, so most are fast paced. I have read some that are so fast paced that I’m tired just reading it. How the characters don’t fall over and die, I’ll never know. Mostly, I’m a character driven reader. If the characters aren’t good, then I don’t care about the story.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2015 (Enter to win a $25.00 Giftcard)My Profile

    • Yes most action books are fast paced and I think that fits the genre, although I also don’t mind slow paced books if well written. And indeed there is also something as too fast paced. I also have had a few of those books where I was wondering how the characters were able to do all that. For me it’s more an interplay between story, characters, romance and world building, it’s best if I like all aspects, but if there are some aspects I like less and others I do like I can still enjoy the book overall.

  4. I think a story needs to keep me interested and involved in the story. I love a book that has a strong plot and doesn’t die in the middle. I like many of the factors you listed, because reading a story there is many aspects in one that are important. I like multiple points of view as well, especially on the side of the villain. It adds much more depth. 1st person POV can be a little annoying because we really only see one side of the story.
    Renee (@Addictofromance) recently posted…Book Review and Book Feature: Thunder on The PlainsMy Profile

    • Oh that’s a good one too, so many books either start good and then get less so or they start slow and only get good halfway through. It’s hard to list everything as like you mentioned there are so many aspects that are important. I agree that seeing the villains pov can really add some depth, although sometimes it can be a bit creepy too. I don’t mind seeing only one side of the story, but I also like a well done multiple point of view.

  5. I agree with most of these for sure! I am also pretty flexible with the pace, as long as SOME stuff is happening! I don’t really know if I need multiple POVs though. I don’t dislike them.. I guess it depends on the story! DEFINITELY plot twists, and the feeling that the plot is actually going somewhere. And the caring thing too- that is usually the reason I DNF books also. I can get through them if they aren’t great, but if I don’t care at all, it isn’t likely to improve! Great points, I love this topic!
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    • I think if stuff is happening is more important than the actual pace. I don’t need multiple pov’s, but I do especially like a well done multiple point of view and will mention that in my reviews. I also love single point of views. It’s hard to explain what makes me care about a book or story, but it’s hard to enjoy a bok when you just don’t care.

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