Writing a story – Plotting and scheming
So, you want to knock out a short story or maybe a fantasy, or does your interest lie in block-buster romances? No matter what your chosen genre, you’re thinking of writing a story.
Writing a story – Hard Work.
First off, make sure you understand just what the plot is about and that you’ve sketched out a brief outline for the story. Some wannabe writers seem to think the plot will magically evolve as they write – this might happen for some experienced writers, but as a wannabe can you risk it? Writing is a logical process. Hard work is required. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration….
Writing a story – Problems are everywhere.
As far as a story is concerned, a plot can perhaps best be described as the structure of scenes dealing with the problems that separate the story from daily life.
Most novels and short stories are larger than life – more things happen, deeper problems are solved. Stories fulfil a reader’s flight of fancy – they want it to be how they would like their lives to be.
This is where a wannabe writer can slip-up. Sometimes when writing a story, they make it too ‘true to life’. Readers don’t want stories that are life as THEY live it. When readers pick up a book, they’re seeking diversion from routine. Successful stories reflect their fantasies.
Some people tend to be wary of writers. They have this idea that writers go around scribbling furtive notes about what friends and people say and what traumas they experience. Writers don’t just right about ‘real’ life ‘en-bloc’. Writers take snippets from here and snippets from there, expand on it, then write and make it their own.
Writing a story – Finding that plot.
So, if you’re thinking of writing a story and you don’t yet have a plot, where do you look for inspiratiion?
Well you can look through agony columns, or even obituaries to see if something sparks the old imagination.
Consider maturing a child’s bedtime story – fairy tales for instance, myths and legends, nursery rhymes – anything that tickles your fancy. Take an already published story, shuffle the plot around, rearrange the storyline until you make it your own.
Whatever way you do it, don’t waste time trying to find an original plot. There’s little chance of finding such a thing after all this time. Just find your own voice and concentrate on writing a story well.
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Writing a story – What a plot should contain.
- Writing a story #1 -Theme. Theme is the true foundation of your story and you must link every character and event to it. Theme is what your story is about. Theme is what provokes emotion in your characters and consequently in your readers. You must know exactly where your story is heading, and what you want to put over. You must understand what reaction you want to invoke. You must always rouse strong feelings in your readers or they aren’t going to be readers for long. Perhaps if we called theme, ‘the message you want to put across’, we might not be far wrong.
Writing a story #2 – Action. Action doesn’t mean your hero must always be on the go. Action is created by the variance of one protagonist on another. Action is created by the contradictory opinions and traits that should gradually emerge. Action is the PROGRESS of a particular circumstance, and is often NOTHING to do with ‘wham-bang-whallop’.
Writing a story #3 – An Arousing Element. You must provoke reaction in a reader. It’s essential you decide what sentiment you wish to stir, and get yourself in that mood before putting pen to paper. You must write with that emotion. You must care about your characters, you MUST be intensely involved. If you aren’t, it’s certain that no one else will be.
Writing a story #4 – Balance. When writing a story, there should never be an incessant gush of catastrophe and distress – everything needs to be in balance. Some scenes must be more restful than others. They should NOT be tedious of course, but scenes that invoke less uncertainty. You must give your reader time to get their breath.
Writing a story #5 – Suspense. Endow your central characters with anxieties and qualms, let them feel fear – but be certain the response is rational. When you’re writing a story, every single action should be plausible. For every action you put into your story, there should be a justified reaction. Don’t go over the top just because you feel it might make the scene more exciting. Keep things realistic and your reader will believe it.
- Writing a story #6 – Motivation. You should never allow your characters to do anything in your story without reason. Motivation should be the underlying reason why a character behaves in a particular way. Motivation is the reason that brings about consequence – and the reader should always be aware of what the motivation is. It’s the prime mover that drives the hero onward.
Keep these things in mind, and with a bit of luck YOU could be writing a story that becomes the next best seller!