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I often find difficulty when constructing my stories. Most of the time is it problems with repeating facts or remembering the reader already knows this or does the reader need to know this now? Giving readers the necessary facts to understand what is happening later is essential to building a great story. Here is a list of 10 secrets to writing better stories.
- Write in one sitting. if you are writing a novel this is impossible. Try to develop your first rough draft and outline within a couple days. It will help keep the facts straight while it’s fresh in your mind.
- Develop your protagonist. A protagonist is your main character. while this can be a process within its self it is crucial to develop his or her traits properly. Remeber to use other characters to help develop your protagonist.
- Show. Don’t tell. Whenever something happens in your story remember to show the readers what has happened. You have to paint the scene include every detail.
- Create suspense and drama. Leave your reader wanting more. It’s best to set up a dramatic question. “Will he be able to save her life?” or “Will they make it out alive?” This is why it is critical to restrict the information given to the reader early on. Nothing can kill drama more than oversharing.
- Write good dialog. This is where you can get lost in rewrites, Writing good dialog can be very difficult for a new author. Although dialog can be a useful tool to get out information to the reader that would seem awkward to just say in a statement. Be careful with speaker tags i.e. “he said, she said” “he exclaimed” they can become distracting and unnecessary.
- Write about death. How many of the last few good novels have you read that include death? I’ll bet almost all of them. Death is a useful, relatable theme. Everyone has experienced a loved one or close friend dying.
- Write at least 3 drafts. Most professional writers will write at least three drafts. The first draft is for exploration, don’t share it with anyone just figure out where it’s going. The second draft is for major structural changes and clarifying your characters and plot. Avoid trying to polish it much at this stage. The third draft is for polishing your story this is where it gets fun and exciting. everything will start to gel and come together.
- Know the rules, then break them. Most professional writers don’t just break the rules because of its fun. It’s because a good story needs its own set of rules. Respect the rules but remember you serve your story and your readers, not the rule makers.
- Break the block. Most writers experience writer’s block, the trick to overcoming writer’s block is to just write. I know that sounds stupid, but what I mean is don’t overthink it, just write and you will soon find out the ideas come streaming out.
- Share your work. I know this can be scary for a new author, but criticism is great for developing yourself as an author. Try entering a writing contest or starting a blog. Don’t be afraid of failure you will fail many times over before your craft an amazing story.
Write, Write, Write. As they say, practice makes perfect. Don’t get caught up in the do’s and don’ts on your first draft. Try something new and remember don’t be afraid of criticism. For more writing help download our free Writer’s Guide.