A good story, well told
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Hired Wrist

"A good story, well told."

Over my many years as a show runner (yes, that's the actual title of the executive producer in charge of running a television show) and, now, as a writing consultant and instructor, I am inevitably asked the same question by my writing staffs and students: what is the secret of truly good writing? Why are some novels, movies and television shows so intensely engrossing, so blissfully entertaining, so deliciously readable and others such dismal disappointments? The secret, which is really no secret at all, is that all great film screenplays, novels, plays, short stories—all of the wonderful literature that has survived the ages—all share one common element which can be stated in five short words: a good story, well told.

"I like a good story well told.
That is the reason I am sometimes
forced to tell them myself."
—Mark Twain

A good story, well told. How simple is that? You would think every writer would embrace that concept and write accordingly. If it was only that simple. But that’s what I strive for every time I sit down at my keyboard and start a new project. Of the hundreds of hours of prime time television I have been responsible for, I’ve actually come close a few times—a couple EMMY® nominations, a few Writers Guild of America nominations and, most treasured by me, two Humanitas nominations.

My entire professional career as well as my consultancy and teaching philosophy is based on those five simple words: a good story, well told. One might argue that writing is subjective, that what may appeal to me may not appeal to you. True, but I ask that you do not confuse genre or taste with the quality of a written work so well told that it resonates viscerally within the heart and soul and psyche of the reader.

Now—what makes a good story and how is it best told? The answer is found in one word...