Story Writing Tutorial
First Things First
Writing stories is as much an art as drawing and painting. Writing great stories even more so, and just as a painting has to conform to certain rules, a great story has to be constructed properly in order to capture an audience. With that in place lets get started.
Forget It! What?Basically everything there is to tell has been told before a gazillion times, so if you think you're going to be writing something completely utterly groundbreakingly new, you really have to strain yourself. Everything, from stories about love and hate to stories about odd beings visiting Earth have been told and re-told again and again since the dawn of man. But fear not. What you need is to write about subjects well known by giving them a unique twist. A new and exciting angle. That is the task at hand.
The Important ElementsTo complete the task of writing a great story you need to know how a good story is constructed. The rules of story writing serves as a framework wherein you can spread your writing wings. These rules can be bent, sure, but I would hardly recommend you doing that as a beginner writer. Below I have listed the most important elements and techniques of story writing, and if you have these basic elements in place you are off to a good start. We will start with the most important part. The premise of your story.
The PremiseMany great writers argue that the first thing to do is to define a clear story premise. A premise could be regarded as a question defining what your story is trying to answer. For instance, if I wrote a story about mind controlling my premise could be something like this: "What would happen if I gained the ability to control other peoples minds and how would this ability affect myself and my surroundings?" Always keep your premise short, informative and precise.
BrainstormingIf your story is still just a jumble of thoughts and ideas in your head, do some brainstorming and write down everything. Characters, dialogues, thoughts, places and everything else. Get it down on paper, or type it into your preferred text editor and save it. Once you have everything written down you can start making some order in all your ideas.
Beginning, Middle, EndA story is roughly divided into these three parts. The parts are not abruptly separated in the actual story but flows from one part to the next naturally. The parts are constructed as follows:
Beginning: Introduce main characters (use only few main characters) fast and try to make the beginning as captivating as possible to maintain the attention of your readers. Make the beginning set the rest of the story into motion. Something important has to happen, a conflict which needs to be resolved.
Middle: Here the plots unfold and the action rise. A plot is basically how characters evolve in the story and what makes them evolve the way they do.
End: This is the part everything else leads up to. Here the conflict, the things at stake, peak, possibly in a surprising manner. Once the conflict has been resolved you should end your story quickly.
Erase Your DarlingsThis one sounded really odd to me the first time I heard about it, but it makes perfectly good sense. Darlings is basically ideas you get which really stand out and you have come to like alot i.e. they have become darlings to you. If you get ideas like that get rid of them fast. Why? Because if your ideas stand out too much they will break the flow of your story and demand too much attention, and once you get writing you'll discover just how important flow is. Anyway, if you get ideas demanding too much attention either erase them completely or make them less dominant.
Pick One Point of View......and stick to it. As a beginner writer I suggest that you either write in third-person point of view (he, she, it), or first-person point of view (I, we). There are many different narrative modes but first- and third person are by far the most common. In first-person the narrator is the protagonist (you, your main character) and the reader only knows what he knows. In omniscient third-person mode the narrator is all-knowing. He knows every thought and action of every character in the story. He also knows what everyone else in the story knows about eachother. It is sort of the God Mode of narrative. Always pick a narrative mode that works best for the story you wish to write.
Themes And SettingsYour story needs a believable theme and atmosphere to become successful. If for instance you write a horror story use alot of eerie and scary elements to solidify it. Right from wierd personas to fog, dark and spooky places, mystery, occultism and odd events. You probably get the idea. Brainstorming is, again, great for getting all your ideas down.
Past, Future and Present - Time framesI would advice you to stick to a single time frame, but if it's vital for your story to work properly, you are free to jump back and forth in time as long as you remember to keep an overview of what is going on when and where. Using different timeframes can be tricky but can also add interesting dimensions to your story.
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