Posted in Bookish Things, Personal, Writing

Is Your Story Made of Starlight Dust?

Has your story captured the light of starlight dust?

Is your story one of starlight dust?

You know what that looks like. The special ones, the ordinary topics made extraordinary in ways that make a reader stand back in amazement. A reader may never be sure just what it was about that story that made it so special, it just had that . . . something.

It had your starlight dust.

Starlight dust is that one little sparkle that no other story can have – it is the fingerprint of you, the author. Starlight dust is what takes a topic so ordinary one might contemplate nodding off at the mention of it, and making it . . . beautiful.

A story that is lacking this fingerprint, this sparkle, is generally easy to spot. Your voice develops the dust. (Allow me some poetic license here – I know it’s called “star dust.” I’m just mixing it up.) As you grow as a writer, your personal voice behind the pen will become more apparent to you and to your readers. This can be where the starlight dust shines. It is yours. Something completely your own that may be recognized and remembered, depending on how brightly it shines.

You’ve been a victim of reading starlight dust all the time. Think back to the last book you read that you really liked. For me, that would be Winter HavenWhat was so special about that book for you? What was so special about Winter Haven for me? They had starlight dust. They bore the fingerprint and the voice of the one who wrote it. They were unique because of this, and I know for Winter Haven, it stood out because of it.

But don’t get too excited yet . . .


Sorry if I burst your bubble. Look, there are good stories and bad stories, in terms of the writing itself. I’ve recently worked on a story with no issue whatsoever – the outlining was good, the inspiration was flowing, and I wasn’t stuck. No writer’s block. Miraculous! BUT . . . the story was lacking. Something.

Through this odd predicament, and through the advice of my brilliant critique partner who saw the exact same thing in the writing of this story, I discovered starlight dust. I don’t know why some stories and manuscripts “have it” and some don’t. If you’ve discovered that for yourself, please let me know. Because this is very important to remember, the lack of starlight dust does not mean you’re struggling with writer’s block. I may once have believed this, but as I explained in this paragraph, it’s evidently not true.

Starlight dust is the voice and fingerprint of the author, and when it shines, it can make any story blazing bright and unique, but I don’t believe it is something that can be forced through a pen. I don’t understand where it comes from – maybe it is the result of you pouring your all into the words which spill upon the page – or why it isn’t always there.

How can you recognize its absence? Simple. Go over you story and see if something is lacking. You should be able to tell. If you can’t, get a critique partner or have a friend read it who isn’t afraid to give you an honest opinion. Then go back to the drawing board. Try rewriting a bit, or maybe do some more outlining. I can’t tell you how to fix the absence of starlight dust, since I’m in that position right now. Soooooo . . . this post may well be a part one. If I strike gold in figuring out how to solve the starlight dust problem, I’ll let y’all know!

🙂 (By the way, I have to give all the credit of identifying and naming “starlight dust” to my critique partner.) 🙂

Meantime, take a look at your work, and as you do so, ask a question:

Can you see the light of the starlight dust?



Hannah Gaudette is a home-school teen living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing stories or training dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like cats. She's a life-enthusiast and advocate for food allergy awareness, youth ministry, and service dogs.

5 thoughts on “Is Your Story Made of Starlight Dust?

  1. That’s interesting. I can totally see what you’re talking about in books I’ve read or beta read. Hmm…. maybe, when an author puts personal things into it? But that doesn’t sound quite right either… I look forward to post #2 if you ever figure it out! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s confidence. A combination of different things, but above all the author’s confidence in taking the story weird places. Not fulfilling reader expectations, but instead taking them on a wild ride without a doubt in the world they’ll love it, even if it’s not what they were expecting. A willingness to shake things up that makes the story undeniably its own.

    *cough* Hello, by the way. I’m new here. Nice blog. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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