Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Posts Tagged ‘How to write a story’

So you want to write a story

In Writing on January 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

So you want to write a story.  You’ve been reading for years and now you’re ready to take the next step.  You have something to say and want to ‘give it a go’, and why not?  First, learn the language, take classes or read how-to books.  Second, learn how to write, see number one.  Third, have something to say, something that comes, not just from the bottom of you heart, But from the deepest untouched part of your soul.  Got it?  Good, you can tell me how to do that.

If you’re just starting out, you really don’t need to worry about where it comes from.  What you need to do is write.  Do not be afraid to fail.  Do not be afraid to suck.  You will, we all do.  Just write.

Some things to keep in mind when trying to craft a story:

Showing cause & effect.  If your character does something, it should have some type of consequence.  Remember:  Every action has an equal and opposite re-action.

Compare and contrast to develop an idea.  Use other characters to show what may or may not work in your story.  (This Guy failed to accomplish something because…  While this Gal succeeded because she had the right idea.)

Use classification to a purpose.  Most people will tell you to stay away from cliché’s and archetypes, to come up with something original.  But why would you do that now?  You’re just practicing your writing, use what ever you want.  What you want to do is give it purpose.  If you use a cliché, make it work, sweat, and bleed in your story.  Have it earn its place in your writing.

I’ll leave it to you to decide the order of importance of:

Setting

Plot

Character

But these are the three main things you must have in any story.  Everything else follows naturally.

Things to describe:

Who, what, when, where, why, and how.  I’ve heard some say that this is only for journalistic writing, but that’s not true.  This goes for each character, each experience, and each world visited by your writing.  These are things we need to know.

Do not forget the five senses.  Touch, Sight, Smell, Sound, Taste.  Often, new writers will miss these touches that can add so much to any piece of writing.  Don’t forget them, open up your world to us, make it unforgettable.

Choose and limit a subject.  Find out where you want to start, and where you want to end.