This is a guest post by Bella Williams. As an Assignment Expert, Bella delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help, helping students with writing essays and assignments. She is the co-founder and education consultant at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her baking a fresh batch of cookies in her kitchen.
7 Easy tips to Craft your Perfect Story
The art of storytelling is perhaps one of the most effective ways of communicating an idea and compelling people to listen. Since the dawn of civilization, stories, myths, and fables have been instrumental in shaping our beliefs and perceptions of the world.
In modern times, the storytelling technique is among the best marketing tools used by brands to keep the customer engaged. From advertisements to social media reels, stories, and blog posts- interactive content is the need of the hour.
It doesn’t matter if you are a marketer, an aspiring writer, or an undergrad student – good writing skills are a necessity for everyone these days. Here are some quick tips to craft your story and make it more readable and relevant to your audiences.
What Makes a Good Story?
Writing a story is not an overnight process. And anyone who tells you that has clearly not tried their hands at writing! A good story is a combination of good narrative techniques, a cohesive plot, and excellent characterization.
One of the best ways to hone your storytelling skills is to read up on other people’s work. Remember, you cannot write good stories in isolation. Another thing that most writers tend to forget, avoid, or dismiss is relatability.
Always think about the reader and try to write stories that they can relate to and engage with. Some of the most common factors that impact your storytelling skills are:
The Right Medium
Stories are never written for the writer, but for someone else to read them. Thanks to technology, there are numerous ways to reach the right reader. Gone are the days when you had to take your manuscript to publishing houses and editors to get it out. Today, you can self-publish the story online in the form of an e-book or a blog post.
The Right Context
You don’t just begin writing a story out of thin air. The first step is to plan the central idea, theme, and context of your story. Here are some of the questions you should ask before attempting to draft a story
- What is the story about?
- Which time period is it set in?
- How many characters are there in my story?
- Is my story dialogue-intensive or descriptive in nature?
- What is the main purpose of writing the story?
- Who is the target reader for this story?
- How long should the story be?
- Should the plot be complicated and layered or simple?
Once you have answered all these questions, you get better clarity as to what you want to write and how to go about it.
7-Step Guide to Writing a Good Story
It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or an established author, these writing tips would help you draft your next story!
Step 1: Find your niche
Initially, try to write a genre-specific story. Finding your niche does not mean you have everything figured out. It simply refers to a starting point. There is no dearth of ideas and interesting concepts to write on. You can pick any topic, theme, or central idea under the sun and make it interesting and engaging.
The trick lies not in the topic, but the way you present it to the reader. Story-writing is all about coherence, structure, and presentation. So, the first step to writing a story is to find an idea, a central concept around which your story will eventually be crafted.
Step 2: Get inspired
Once you have an idea about the basic plotline, central theme, or idea of the story, you can begin your research. For beginners, I would recommend you stick to the rules a little bit before experimenting with your writing style.
Try finding all the information you can to set the background and context for your story. Every piece of writing is set in a specific time frame and space. The setting, era, and character development hence add more material to your writing and make it authentic.
Step 3: Write it out!
The actual writing process begins after you have all the insights about the story. A quick tip that I often give to my readers is, “write first, edit later.”
Write down your thoughts, listing all the ideas you have in one place before you begin to structure them. These ideas need not be coherent or follow any structure; all that comes later.
For starters, you just need to get all the ideas out so that you don’t miss out on anything when you begin to shape your story. This includes deciding the context, the setting, the characters, the plotline, and the conclusion for the story.
Step 4: Structuring your story
Every story, irrespective of its subject matter or length, has the following parts:
- The setting: Here you discuss the backdrop, location, time period, situation, etc. of the story.
- The characters: Are the people, places, things, and other mediums you use to communicate your ideas
- The plotline: The plot is the overall structure and linear (or non-linear) flow of the story
- The conflict: This refers to the main issue or central problem of the story
- The resolution: This is the conclusion wherein the conflict is resolved
Note that the resolution doesn’t necessarily have to be definitive. Modern-day storytelling techniques prefer to keep the conclusion close-ended and open to interpretation.
And talking about the plotline, it doesn’t always have to be linear or follow the conventional structure. The modern-day storytelling technique likes to test the reader. You can use devices like non-linear narrative structures, unreliable narrators, abrupt beginning, flashbacks, etc. to make your story more engaging.
Step 5: Proofread like a pro
Once you have written the first draft, it is time to proofread and review the story. Thanks to technology, there are several tools online to help you identify the grammatical errors and typos in your writing
However, proofreading is not just limited to rectifying syntax-based errors or bad punctuation. I often advise budding writers to manually proofread the story before publication using one of the many free proofreading tools available online.
With manual proofreading, you can identify the structural errors in the story. A quick tip: always proofread from the reader’s perspective. Once you have completed the first draft, give yourself a break and then approach the story with a fresh mindset. This gives you a lot of perspective.
Step 6: Check for plagiarism
Getting accused of plagiarism is every writer’s worst nightmare. Every form of writing, be it fiction, non-fiction, or academic, requires credibility. And most writers don’t copy someone else’s work intentionally. However, there may be instances when your ideas/centra themes/characters might match another story.
Therefore, it is always best that you run your content through plagiarism-checking software before publishing it. Note that even paraphrasing someone else’s ideas without giving them due credit is a form of plagiarism and hence not acceptable in the academic community or a company blog.
Step 7: Get it published
Now that you have your story ready, it is time to tell the world about it! You can get the story published over a number of platforms. Reach out to a publication house, get it printed in the newspaper, send it over to a magazine, or post it online – there is no dearth of options.
For budding writers, WordPress is a great platform to get your writing published. This CMS platform is user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate through. Plus, you can browse through numerous free themes and attractive templates to design your story blog any way you want to.
Overcoming writer’s block
Now that you have figured out the what aspect of story-writing, let us discuss the next big question: how? Well, the answer is simple enough – just start writing. Every writer has a different approach to drafting their story. And writer’s block is the worst nightmare for anyone who is attempting to write a story.
A simple tip that I personally recommend resolving writer’s block is to read more. Reading a book or an article gives you a fresh perspective. Don’t beat yourself too hard if ideas don’t come to you. Everyone goes through these phases. The trick is to learn how to overcome them. Give yourself a break, indulge in some other activities, consume some more art/content online and I am sure the right ideas will eventually come to you.
The Bottom Line
Writing a story is a tough but rewarding job. Any form of creative expression gives you the space to say the things you wouldn’t normally express in day-to-day life. Storytelling gives you the freedom to talk about things that matter to you. It is a flexible medium wherein you can express your worldview, communicate an idea, or simply connect with the reader on a very fundamental level.
I hope that these writing tips help you pick up your pen and start writing!
Thank you, John 🙂
Excellent advice again Nicholas. Just drafted to add for my next writer’s tips issue 🙂
Yay! Thank you 🙂