Writing stories is a form of art that has been passed on for generations now. Stories about how people lived, about different times, fiction, a little anecdote or an experience from one’s own life. It is a way by which people share their emotions and feelings about different things to the vast world without saying a word.
Even though writing is an effective way of communication, writing a good story is not always easy. A good story that can capture the reader’s mind and keep them wanting for more is not as easy to produce as it sounds. But the good part is that this article will help you reach there. The entire process has been summarized and divided into steps for what needs to be done.
But before that we need to understand the types of a story.
Types of Stories
A good story may have some fictional characters or might be around a person’s journey and learnings of life. It could be a historical tale, an autobiography or a real-life scenario based.
For example, there are fairytales, where the protagonist (main character) of the story discovers magic and has a fairly happy ending. There are legends which are passed down through generations. They are evolved over years with supernatural elements as well. Then there are Mythical stories which involve gods and devils and how the world came into existence.
Other than these, there are Epics, Historical fictions, Science fictions and crime fiction novels. These come straight out of the infinite pools of human imagination and creativity.
Comics are also another interesting category that people of all ages enjoy. All these types of stories have one thing in common. It is that they all follow the same rules for writing a good story.
Elements of a Story
Storytelling is the most efficient way to put our ideas into the world. There are a few basic elements underlying every story which are as follows.
- Setting – This element sets the when and where for the story. It tells the reader about the time and the place, the cultural and social setting of the character and the story. A good story setting can be created keeping the 5 basic senses of human in mind, i.e. the sense of sight, sound, feel, smell, and taste. This allows the reader to connect and imagine himself as a part of the story.
- Characters – The most important element of a good story – the characters. It does not necessarily have to be a human or an animal, but it must have a story to tell even if it is a chair. There could be more than one main character. The reader sees the story from this main character’s perspective.
- Plot – A plot is like a storyline. A sequence of scenes which tells how the story will flow. It is like the backbone of a story which supports its characters and the actions.
A plot further has 5 main parts.
- Exposition is the Introduction part where all the elements of a story are introduced such as the characters, setting, problems.
- Rising Action. These are the events that occur due to the main conflict. More like secondary actions.
- Climax, the part of the story that has the highest tension and drama. This is the point which is the most intriguing for its readers.
- Falling Action is where the character is now resolving the conflicts and leading towards a resolved storyline.
- When finally, all the loose ends of a story come together and the issues are resolved. A happy ending or at least a fulfilling end.
- Conflict – Every story has a conflict, an issue, a problem, or some messy strings. Conflict is an important element of a story as it depicts the struggle between opposite ends of a story. The plot is usually based around this problem. It gives a structure and depth to the story. A conflict may be due to external factors like people, money, etc. While there could be an internal conflict as well which happens inside the character’s mind.
- Theme – A Good story is bound to leave an impact on the reader’s mind. The central idea of the story is a theme that every reader uses to create a foundation of the story in his mind. It is like the overall take-away from the story, like a lesson learned.
Steps for writing a Good Story
It is advised to always go for the entire story in one sitting and complete the first draft. The draft would then need a ton of edits and revisions but you will have a framework to work with. Also, it would prevent you from dropping the idea or getting stuck. Here are a few steps to be followed when writing a story. Let’s look at them.
- Brainstorm for the character and the plot. A good character with an interesting plot has the potential to mould the entire story. This is where the spark for your story might originate from. Jotting down the points and creating a mind map of where the story might land will help you go in the right direction since the start. You could use your own life experiences, any family story, something interesting you saw, any photograph, art, or even a song.
- Develop your character, use character sheets – The driving force for any story is its character. It is important for the readers to be able to relate to the characters as they drive the entire story. Therefore, it is important to create a profile for every one of these characters. Describe their habits, traits, behavior, description, and quirks. Start with the protagonist and then make the character sheet for the antagonist and other main characters. It is important to figure out what motivates the characters and then base your plot around that theme.
- Choose a setting for your story. As mentioned above, a setting must be the next step once your characters and plot are defined. So, develop a setting and describe in detail when and where the story takes place. A setting should add value to the plot of the story. Also, it is important to note that when working with an unfamiliar time or setting, be careful about the details you use as there is a chance it could be incorrect.
- Decide a POV (Point of View). Choosing a first person or a third person POV must be done wisely. It changes the perspective for the entire story. When a first person POV is chosen, it really helps the writer to get close to the story. Whereas, a third person POV is used if you wish to focus on just one character and at the same time want enough distance to be able to add your own interpretations of events.
In simple words,
1st person POV – In this POV a single character tells the entire story from their Point of view. The story teller’s words are the only truth and very unreliable at the same time.
3rd person limited – Here the narrator limits the perspective to just one character. The writer can only add various interpretations of the setting but cannot provide the thoughts of other characters.
3rd person omniscient – The narrator is all-seeing in this point of view. He includes all the thoughts and actions of each character.
- Draft the story. Bring the story together from what you had in mind. Keep in mind the 5 stages of a story plot and move the story along. Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Decide and plan the story for each of these categories and your draft will be ready.
- Begin your story as close to the end as possible. Build tension in the story by adding bad situations and difficult times. Also, stimulate the reader’s senses by including sensual details. Every aspect of a human life must be captured in the story to make it more relatable.
- Revise and Finalize the story. Set your final story aside before digging into it straight after completing it. Then with a fresh mind try to read your story and calculate the story’s impact as if you were a reader. Also, it would be great to get a few feedbacks from the people who write or read often.
The skills needed to write a good story can be curated and developed overtime. All it takes is a good imagination, creative thinking skills, and lots of practice. Taking a writing course might also help. Unlu is an amazing online platform that offers a variety of writing courses for all the writing enthusiasts. One needs to understand the importance of formatting and proper documentation before starting a good story. After several drafts and improv sessions, a good story comes through. And writing a good story is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of effort to grab the reader’s attention throughout the story. This article, hopefully, will be able to provide all the information needed to get started.
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