The grounds of evaluation of fiction: suggestions

This page was written by Professor John Lye. If you have any suggestions to add to this list, or anything you would like to challenge or change, mail me.

For some further discussion, see my page on depth, complexity and quality.

the complexity, intelligence, effectiveness, of the use of the fundamental elements of language and narrative -- what one might call its artistry

the extent to which the story captures some aspects of human experience vividly, precisely and freshly

the extent to which the story opens for us the emotional, moral, intellectual and social complexities of its theme

the extent to which the story allows us to see experience in a new way, strips off the blinders of custom and convention, challenges stereotypical thinking, sentimentality and easy answers

the extent to which the story draws us to think and imagine in such a way that we become involved in the issues and decisions with which the story confronts us

the generalizability & 'importance' of the meaning of the story -- the extent to which the story leads us to consider the way that its actions and issues fit in with larger cultural, political, social, intellectual concerns.