How to Write a Story

May 13, 2008 at 4:31 am | Posted in Writers Write | Leave a comment
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I think all writers should look to their favorite authors for guidance.  If you’re wondering how to write a story, study the work of writers you enjoy reading. How do they convey mood, describe a setting or build characters?  I’ve read authors who describe a character’s wardrobe, down to the color of socks. Stephen King paints an extravagant landscape with his words; describing an eerie labyrinth or deserted towns.  He sculpts characters through their past experiences and preferences. Once you’ve identified the techniques in use,  practice applying them in your own work. 

 

Write short stories or flash fiction to explore different styles, perspectives or genres. The elements of plot, setting and character development still apply but you must be more disciplined in the execution.  Every word counts, so plan ahead with a plot outline.

 

Beginning – Start with action, a change in the status quo and a character in turmoil.  You need to grab your reader immediately.

 

Introduce Conflict – This is the question to be answered or problem to be solved. Without conflict there is no point in telling a story.  You need to challenge your character so they are transformed by the end of the story.

 

Obstacles – Your protagonist takes action to resolve his or her conflict, but it shouldn’t be too easy. Be sure to throw a few obstacles in his way to build the tension and urgency.

 

Confrontation – Occurs when your character meets his nemesis, the conflict head on.  

 

Resolution – This is when you reveal the result of the conflict. Did the character succeed or fail? 

 

End – Take your time to develop a solid ending. Don’t rush to close the story or leave loose ends.  If you plan ahead you’ll know exactly where you’re going and what to do when you get there.

 

Individual style, pace and voice set writers apart and imitation, while the greatest form of compliment, is a hallow substitute.   The most important tip for how to write a story is to be willing to be yourself.   There are only a few stories and millions of aspiring writers, the best way to distinguish yourself is by honoring your unique perspective of the world. This is all we writers offer.  

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