This is Important
Writing a great story is big task and a big ask – of yourself. How do the greats do it?
I started writing many years ago, shortly after starting I realised that I had a big problem with getting going, keeping going and finally ending the story. I thought it was all about plugging away at the keyboard and finally a story would emerge. Maybe you’ve tried this and discovered that this way of writing doesn’t get you anywhere. In fact it creates a mess that is hard to clear up.
That’s when I realised I needed to learn something about writing stories. I hit the books and bought and read any book I could find on writing. I learned a lot. Then I put it into practice and things started to fall together.
I write stories now. If I begin a story and it doesn’t seem to work, I know something is missing so I look a bit deeper into what my protagonist is doing and ask him or her questions.
How you write your Story matters to your reader
Your protagonist, believe it or not, will help you write your short story, novel or any piece that you are tackling.
The main character in any story has an intimate relationship with the writer. You need to know how they act in any given situation by getting to know them – very well. Knowing that your main character is a detective or an underdog faced with an adversary to overcome is not enough information. It is important to know who they love and who they hate and why.
Your character will have fears; fears show the deep side of the main character’s life – that deep psychology that motivates a human being. Go deep and ask questions about your character and you will discover motivations that create action in the story. A detective chasing a baddy that has no inner life is a set-up for an action thriller of the lowest and most boring standards. It will force the writer to write repetitious crap.
Create Cause and Effect Scenes
Knowledge about your character will allow you to write a story with “cause and effect” scenes. It will also give you the power to overcome the problem of passive character actions; where the main character or hero reacts to action rather than acts against it. Create friction that comes from main character actions and decisions. Depth of character makes great reading.
Cause and Effect will move a story forwards. A character that has depth of psyche will act like a real hero.
If you are having problems choosing who your character is then take a look at Archetypes. These are typical “make-ups” of Hero characters taken from Mythology. It doesn’t take long to read or skim through the stories of ancient Greece and Rome. You’ll see it when you find it.
Think about films and books where the characters are Archetypes from Mythology. The Godfather is an all-powerful man directing his people and family. Their loss and fortune hangs on his words. He is like a god who punishes or helps all depending on whether you help further his cause or not.
The underdog or lovable loser is found in many Hero stories of Mythology.
When you write your character make sure that you are a real sadist. Kurt Vonnegut said this about writing, he was right because the worse circumstances bring out the best in a resilient and resourceful character and that’s where story really happens – in the action that is meaningful and threatens to destroy the main character’s life.
[bctt tweet=”Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”]
Know the rules of writing Fiction
Write a lot and then some more. This is how you learn about writing and about you as a writer. A day will come when you realise that you can tackle a writing project without sweating the small stuff. That’s when you’ve internalised the rules that you have found on the way.
When you really understand a rule, you realise that it isn’t written in stone. Then you can adapt it, make it your rule, use it in the wrong place and make it work. There are no rules in writing, just ideas that writers discover on the journey through.
Work with these ideas (Rules) and watch your Story writing skills get better and better.
Start as close to the action as possible.
Let the reader know who all of the characters are at the beginning, not half way through the book.
Know your Characters – especially the Main Character. Know their personalities and their deeper characters and you will always have something interesting to write about them, they will always tell you what’s going to happen next.
Always write to please yourself. If you hate the story don’t write it because you’ll never finish it.
Write all ideas down when they come to mind; keep a notebook with you, be professional and hone every aspect of your craft by taking it seriously. Ideas not recorded float away into the ether.
Don’t force a situation to happen in your story; if it’s plausible your character will express it truthfully and not as if the author wanted this thing to happen.