We all love stories, whether they are in the form of books, movies or the yarns that our mother spun for us. Stories make our lives interesting, and ones like the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and Sherlock Holmes often have us wondering how the authors came up with such riveting narratives and intricate storylines. Well, it’s not easy. In fact, it requires a lot of hard work and imagination to come up with an idea for a fiction story and the marriage of the idea with paper is a whole other ballgame. Story-writing is not a piece of cake, but it’s not something that can’t be learned. Contrary to popular belief, ideas don’t just pop into being with no effort unless you’re a prodigy. It takes effort, time and practice along with the willingness to persevere even if your story isn’t good enough at first. To make things easier, here are some guidelines to help you write your first story:
1. Read and understand how it’s done
Being born a writer or a poet is a myth. The creativity may be inherent but the ability to write good content is definitely learned. It is very important that we look at both the craft and the essence or emotion of the art. To master the craft, read whatever you can get your hands on because that’s where you’re likely to learn the ropes and get inspiration. Read, not as a member of the audience, but as an apprentice. Try to get a feel of the different styles involved, evaluate and analyze the experts and take inspiration from their work without plagiarising.
Short Stories for Inspiration
2. Think long and hard about the plot
Every good story has a plot. You can’t really write anything significant if your story isn’t going anywhere and a plot is essential for every piece you write. Without an interesting and engaging plot, your story will never see the light of day. Focus well on your plot because if it’s not interesting enough, no one will be interested in reading any part of your story even if your characters are brilliant. The title of your story is also very important. It’s the first thing a reader will look at, and if it’s not good, the reader might not even take a flier with your story. The quality of the story will make no difference if the reader isn’t willing to get past the title.
What exactly is a plot?
3. Develop your protagonist
Stories need to have characters, and without a good main character or protagonist, it will just remain a haphazard mess. A good protagonist is one whom readers can relate to. No one is perfect, even in an imaginary world, and perfect people are boring anyway. The protagonist needs to have flaws that readers can relate along with strengths that make them worthy of being the hero of your story. Throw some struggles in, and if the protagonist learns something from those struggles, that’s the icing on the cake called the plot.
Learn about Types of Characters HERE
4. Create an outline for your story
With your plot and protagonist ready, you can begin writing the story. But first, you should be clear as to exactly where the story is going. Jot down what you want the character to do, and keep a rough idea of a captivating beginning, an interesting middle and a rewarding end ready. Also, jot down where the story is supposed to take place and in what setting. This will give you a direction, and the details and pretty words can come later.
Beginning, Middle and End
5. Finish what you’ve started writing
Write your first draft within a stipulated time frame. A short story should preferably be written at one go. Don’t bother about the finer details when you’re writing the first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t start editing the story until you finish the first draft. Once you have a rough draft on paper, you can start working on making it a beautiful, interesting piece that readers can’t wait to read but if you keep going back to change things even before you’ve finished the first draft then you’ll forget where your story is going. This proves to be a major diseconomy for most writers and it induces what most people call the ‘writer’s block’.
6. Edit rigorously
Most writers write at least three drafts before their story is ready to be published. You can’t expect a bestseller to come out in your first draft. In fact, you’ll probably need to change the entire thing to make it palatable. The second draft is usually for making major changes, and the polishing and refining is taken up in the third and sometimes fourth draft. Sometimes you tend to miss out on details even after looking at your own story multiple times. So get your friends and relatives to read your final draft. Ask those people that you know will give you an unbiased opinion. It should be read at least by three people other than you before you try to get it published.
Learn How to Edit
These are just some tips to help you start off with your work of art. There are a few other things to consider like your style of writing, grammar, an effective ending and much more. However, you’ll only be able to write a good story if you have your basics of story writing in place. This is the eMaester way of writing an impactful story. Good luck and start writing!