There is a recipe for Good Literature (caps intentional)

YUM! This recipe is full of wholesome ingredients.

I can remember when I was four years old realizing that people wrote the stories I read. It was one of those moments of profound realization one does not forget, no matter how ridiculously obvious that realization seems when you are nearly 39 years removed from it.

“I want to do this,” I thought, Cat in the Hat shaking in my hands. From that day forward, I’ve wanted to write stories. And yes, I lost my way once or twice, but I’ve always come back to it, I always feel a drive to write, not a need so much, but a drive. I want to do this.

As I went about my journey toward actual-factual writer, I earned several degrees, published poems, short stories, essays, journalism, and even a few novels, and, I came up with a recipe for Good Literature (caps intentional). Today, I’d like to share it with you….

Before we start though, three quick notes: Good Literature is such a powerful thing that it deserves to be designated as a proper noun, hence the caps. Also, no single ingredient is more important than any other. They work together, holistically, to create something moving, which, I imagine, is what all writers would like their work to be, regardless of genre, style, tone, or voice. And finally, I will eventually be going into more detail about each ingredient of this recipe as I continue this blog.

Good Literature: [goo d] [Lit-er-uh-Cher] — noun: It is a journey of some sort, it borrows from past examples of Good Literature, it has an impassioned premise, and unforgettable, realistic characters. Good Literature is something you can relate to yet it is still original, it takes you outside of yourself and/or deeper inside yourself than you have ever been willing to go. Good Literature is writing that can change you. It makes you see the world differently than you did before you read it. It can call you to action. It makes you think, feel, laugh, cry, and realize that you are alive. You will feel passionately about Good Literature. As time goes by Good Literature is constantly changing and constantly changing its readers, even those pieces of Good Literature written thousands of years ago. Good Literature is power.

There you have it, condensed to its most simplistic form. This is what I use to decide if I like a book or not. Hope you can get some use out of it as either a reader or a writer or both.



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AE Stueve

AE Stueve teaches and writes in Omaha, NE. Check out all of his available work at