The Not-So-Subtle Guide to the Subtle Art of Story-Writing

The Not-So-Subtle Guide to the Subtle Art of Story-Writing

Let’s start from the beginning. What is a story? A story is a picture that you paint on the canvas of the reader’s mind. You make the reader visualize a scene as if he or she were present there.

And how do you do that? You can’t do that by telling your story, you have to show your story. This brings us to our first point of story writing – Show, Don’t tell. When something major is happening in your story that decides the direction of the story, show the readers that scene by playing it out in front of them. Show them the scene of action, show them the people present, show them what’s happening and how the characters interact with each other.

When you are playing out the scene, you need to use your Characters, which is the next important consideration. So make interesting characters. Add some uniqueness to each of your characters in the way they think, they talk or react. Make sure your reader can tell the characters apart from the way they speak and for this you would need Dialogs. So use good dialogs, give a unique voice to each character.

how-to-write-a-short-storyOf all the characters, the Protagonist is the most important so take time in developing the character. Answer the question, ‘What does the protagonist want?’, because that’s what is going to shape the story. Create a character that the readers can root for. In order to make meaningful characters with some depth to them, it is important for you to know more about the character than you would use in the story. You don’t create a character to fit the story, you create characters and put them in a scene and what happens to them eventually becomes the perfect short story.

Next comes the Perspective. You can show your story from the eyes of the protagonist or a secondary character in the story, or from a third-person’s perspective. Generally the viewpoint of a character is a better choice as it gives the reader the feel of being a part of the story. Decide from whose eyes you want to show the story and then stick to it.

Another trick to the keep reader engaged is to keep the Voice of narration active. Telling a story as it unfolds conveys a sense of action and urgency keeping the reader on his toes. Imagine yourself telling the story to a person sitting across the table. You don’t want them to get up before you finish, do you?


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