Mr. Owl's 6 rules for a good book

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    I don’t know if you guys have met him yet, but this is one of my best friends, Mr. Owl.

    /OvO\ – “Nice tooo meet you, hoot hoot.”

    Mr. Owl is quite an avid reader, and quite a critical one too. After some discussion we came up with six questions and common themes we found in many of our favorite and the best books, and a guide to see if the book you’re reading is good or not.

    If you answer more than three of these questions with “yes”, than you are probably reading a good book. But if you answer three or less with “yes”, than you should probably find another book.

    1. Does it have swords? I know it’s kind of cliched by now, but come on, everyone knows swords just carry this air about them that makes you go “whoa”.  Historically swords were the weapons of real warriors, as a mace and shield or a spear was much easier to learn how to fight with quickly, and I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love a good sword story. Now if it’s a Christian allegory about light/dark knights in plate armor, scrap it. Not worth your time.

    2. Does it have guns? Gun stories are pretty awesome too. Honestly nothing gets better than Bourne, and many other stories like it are nearly equally awesome. So we’ll put this one on the list.

    3. Are live(s) being threatened throughout the plot of the book? Come on guys, a book that isn’t life-threatening to your protagonists is really no fun. Unless it happens to be a really good story, I generally find that the best books are the ones where life is on the line.

    4. Does the fate of the universe/world as we know it depend on the main character’s victory or defeat? This one MAY be dismiss-able, but I put it on here because it’s mostly true. Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Bourne, they all have that common theme of humanity in its entirety being threatened, and it makes you want to hang onto the book. Which is what we want if we want unbelievers to hear our message.

    5. Does it have an external protagonist? This is usually a must for me. Reading about someone that physically and emotionally threatens the protagonist is a lot more enjoyable and easier to write. The Voldemorts, Mulgawraths, Mirazs, Wind Witches…They’re a lot more interesting and you get the bonus of getting someone else to flesh out.

    6. Was it written by a male? Okay, before you go off on me: I’m not sexist! And this is an exclusive and relative rule. But I find that in the case of stories that incorporate the themes above, a lot of female authors I read just have a whole different writing style. Priscilla Shirer, for example…*cringe* Like I said, it’s relative, and I’ve read some female authors who can write these very well, Ted Dekker’s daughter being an example. (Some male authors can’t write these well either.) But usually, especially pre-2005, females seem better at writing stories like Anne of Green Gables (which was actually phenomenal despite it not following Mr. Owl’s rules), stories that aren’t so action-packed. And honestly, I find non-action packed books harder to write. So bravo, ladies!


    Keep in mind there are some exceptions to this rule, mostly in the classics…Where the Red Fern Grows, Green Gables, select Dickens, etc.

    No one reads these anyway


    @samuel, hmm, the book I’m reading follows none of those rules. Nevertheless, I have been enjoing it so far.

    But, that’s because its nonfiction! Its a biography.

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson

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