Hey!! What's the story?
Ok 3 things on this:
1. Look at all the greats. I think the thing that make them accessible and able to stand the test of time is their humanity, even if it comes in alien/monster/robot form (Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?) or mankind's struggle against those things (Dracula). We like to read stuff we can relate to so even allegorical stuff works (Animal Farm). Pick any author, past or present, and you'll be hard pushed not to find some element of the human condition in there - we are human after all! Take Mr Gaiman for instance, in the introduction to the edition of Smoke & Mirrors that I have, he states that his stories are all about love. (He is rather vociferous about his work so you get a good idea of how a successful writer ticks!) P.D. James said that The Children of Men came about after having read an article about declining fertility rates. She looked at how this would affect the life of the individual and life in general. All successful stories not only include this, but also get it across to the reader in a way that is familiar or that ignites their curiosity or deals with it in an original way and that perhaps, is the skill of writing the story that lasts.
2.There's a whole US-based group which works on the Ray Bradbury principle called Write1 Sub1 (Write a story AND submit it) and it works! You can do 1 piece a month or a 1 a week. They give you loads of that state-side style positive encouragement (Way to go! Good one! etc.) when you check in weekly and you get your name on the Hall of Fame for every publication. You also get to see what others are up to and see where you can get stuff published too. (Sound silly? Writing's a lonely road and there's nothing like a little recognition for keeping you going! But you already know this from 99 fiction.net!)
3. Great discussion!