What’s the Key to an Engaging Story?

Check out this post from Allison Maruska’s blog on the key to creating an engaging story.

Allison Maruska

Last week, my fifth-grade reading group and I finished a classic novel. I’m not going to say which one it was because I’m not going to say very nice things about it.

The story itself was fine. It followed a classic narrative structure and was occasionally gripping. The problem was…

Well, it was boring in more than a few places. But it wasn’t all the book’s fault.


The book is older than I am, and it’s set on a homestead in the 1800s. Setting details were very important to the author, so much so that a pond deserved three pages of description. The story would have been great for literature students studying symbolism.

Here’s the problem: I work in a school that serves an at-risk population (that means there’s a high poverty rate). Simply put, most of them don’t care what glorious colors and reflections occurred on a pond 150…

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