I am always amazed reading stories, so, I cannot deny the fact that knowing how to write a good story is one of the excellent skills. I know you will agree that our minds are drawn to stories. So, below are the tips on how to start writing a story.
Create Story Ideas.
Where do you get your ideas?” It is the question that novelist or short story writer has heard many times. Many aspiring writers believe that they have to wait for a flash of inspiration to write a story, but generating ideas is more of a process than an epiphany.
1. Pay attention to the things around you.
Stroy writers pay attention to what is going on around them. The snippets of conversation you overheard at the dinner, the senior man trudging down a dark alley, the car you witnessed going the wrong way down the freeway during rush hour, all of these can spark a story. There are some events you describe that may be extraordinary, but they don’t have to be. They only have to be interesting.
2. Jot things down.
Story ideas can be around, make it a habit to notice what’s going on around you, start from the exciting to the mundane. Then, write things down as they catch your attention. You can use your phone’s note-taking app to capture the moments. Now, if you’re old school, keep a small notebook or some index cards. The act of writing the things down will remind you to focus and be in the moment. Remember that the best writers are keen observers.
3. Ask, “What if?”
When I was starting to write a story, I’ve learned that events aren’t stories. However, the event can germinate stories when the writer plants the seeds by asking questions. To get started with a story, one of the primary questions I ask is, “what if?” Let’s say, what if the car you witnessed was heading the wrong way down the freeway at rush hour was driven by a pregnant woman in labor who needed the fastest route to the hospital? What if?
Create a Story Framework.
Stories are not just sequences of events. There should be a structure. These have to go somewhere. A good story begins with a character who wants something and describes the character’s journey towards getting the goals. Stories don’t need to have happy endings, just satisfying ones. Keep your character’s struggle to get something that the character desperately wants in mind as you build your story framework. Try answering the following questions:
A. Who is my main character?
B. What is it that he likes in his ordinary life?
C. What does he want?
D. Is there an extraordinary event that calls him to action?
E. What is it that he willing to do to get what he wants?
F. How do the character’s flaws prevent him from achieving his goal?
G. What obstacles, internal or external, thwart him?
H. Does he finally overcome the obstacles or is he unable to succeed?
I. How is the character changed as a result of the struggle?
Develop the Fundamentals of Plot.
Let’s say that you have already learned the basics of story structure in the beginning composition class, but here’s a refresher. Remember that story must have the three parts: the beginning, middle, and the end. The character follows a path called the story arc. It begins with an event that sets the wheels in motion. Rising action follows that. It means that every step in the story’s progression raises the stakes just a bit, then, increases the conflict, and tension, the story should reach a climactic turning point. For better or for worse, from here forward, your character will be changed as the result of his journey through the events. The final piece is the end is called denouement, which wraps the story up in a satisfying way and solidifies both the outcome and the theme.
The term denouement refers to the story resolution that happens after the climactic event. Emma Coats, a Pixar storyboard artist compiled some excellent advice about storytelling in a series of tweets. She advises that to dig into the process of plotting the character’s story with the simple template below:
Once upon a time, there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ____. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
You can keep repeating “Because of that, ____” for as long as necessary to get to “Until finally ____.” However, keep in mind that a plot should have rising action. If it helps, think “Because of that, ____, which made things more complicated.”
Tips for Writing a Story
Now that you have understood the framework for writing a story, these tips below will help you make your account great.
1. Write the setting, where is your story taking place?
The details may be just for atmosphere, say, a bookstore wherein two people meet and start a whirlwind romance. They can play a significant role, a mountaintop from which a volcanologist is trying to escape because the volcano he’s been studying has suddenly roared to life.
2. Your character does not need to be perfect.
Perfect people do not exist, and if they did, they’d be interminably dull. Give your character flaws that will both help us relate to her as a human being and increase the story’s tension as the conflict builds.
3. Your character has to feel some discomfort.
The character’s struggles are what makes him relatable. Whatever he is competent at, throw the opposite at him. If he is a cocky rock guitarist with a skyrocketing career trajectory, make his arrogance the cause of the accident that injures his hand, causing permanent damage. How will he react? How will he change? The answer is your story.
4. Whatever you are working on, finish it.
Get the first draft on paper. Only when you’ve written from the beginning to the end can you begin the work of rewriting and editing.