Writing stories is no cakewalk and beginners probably need creative writing prompts.
Robert Frost once said ‘no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader’.
For those needing story writing tips for beginners, in plain words, if the writer doesn’t feel what he writes, the reader will also not feel the emotions. So if you want Frost’s tip, you need to pour out your emotions in order to draw similar emotions from your reader.
But if you are lost in emotions, how do you keep an eye on the tone, the punctuations, the spellings, script and everything else to tell a gripping story?
Well, there’s clearly more to captivating readers with your sensational story writing. You have the itch to write a story or a novel – take a look at these tips and take your fiction to new heights, when you next write your own story.
- Writing a short story demands a different approach from writing a novel.
- Begin the story as close as possible to the climax, you cannot afford to meander from the main point.
- Focus on one main issue and end with an unexpected climax while writing short stories.
- Detailed backstories not generally required, so overdetailing of characters not necessary.
- Selecting the topic – it could be a real life experience like winning a game or fighting a serious illness, dealing with pains of separation or death and so on.
How to Write a Novel
While writing a novel, select a suitable subject or search through some story writing topics.
- Steer clear of melodrama, clichés and old and worn out story ideas.
- Don’t select a story just to make it a best seller, while writing fiction.
- Think of stories that you love. If you love mysteries, make a story on this theme not a historical or a fantasy one.
- Make a list of all the genres you love, the things that really set your heart thumping and use it as a guide.
- Don’t steal or borrow novel ideas – old wine in new bottles just doesn’t work, so avoid recycling. You can even make use of a story creator or a story generator tool for getting story writing ideas.
- Give a good introduction about yourself
For a novel as well as short story writing, the first paragraphs are significant. It could be a deal breaker, either hooking or repelling your readers.
## One of the important fiction writing tips is that the first paragraph should narrate something unusual, unexpected. It should have some tension in it.
- For instance: I heard my neighbor screaming through the walls of my house while I was bathing and wondered whether I should call the police (Very dry, plain and surely not gripping).
- The first time I heard the screams through the bathroom doors sent a chill through my spine. I debated (instead of wondered – Use captivating synonyms) whether or not to call the police.
Both the sentences tell the same narrative, but the former is dry and plain and surely doesn’t spark the imagination of readers.
On the other hand, the second sentence immediately grasps your attention. Who is this guy in the shower and what are these screams? The questions rush through your mind, and you read on.
- Begin with a Character
It’s a great way to begin a short story or a novel. Make the character flawed, so that it is more believable. Ask the character to reveal his/her inner secrets. For instance, you can write ‘I never told anybody this, but….’
Developing a Character
An important aspect of novel writing tips is that characters need to be living breathing ones with multifold aspects. There is no black and white in character and subtle shades of grey can work wonders to impress readers.
They are better able to relate to such characters and empathize with them. Get all the character details clear in your mind, before you begin to etch them.
- Name, age, job, appearance
- Pets, religion, hobbies, temperament
- Residence, job, hobbies, ethnicity, country
- Married, single, children
- Favorite colors, books, phobias, loves and hates
- Secrets, memories, gestures and so on
- Use interesting synonyms for description
While developing the character the most important thing is:
## Getting into the skin of the character. Consider this:
- Julian stopped and lighted a cigarette and then exhaled smoke standing at the window.
- Julian paused to light a cigarette, holding it close as if were clinging on to some secret. He sent out a stream of smoke from it, avoiding Mary’s eyes.
I don’t have to state the obvious. The second statement throws a lot of light on the character and his nervousness, without explicit explanations.
Selecting a Point of View
A narrative could be from the first person, second person or third person point of view. You need to decide what works for you. You can tell the story subjectively or just report it objectively.
- First person for subjective view. You use the pronoun ‘I’ and it should be the protagonist or the leading character of the story.
- Second person. You use the pronoun ‘You’ and tell the story to the reader, with the ‘You’ being the reader. This is a little rare.
- Third person for objective view. You make use of pronouns ‘He,she,it’.
Personally, I feel that the first person works well for beginners and it is easier to narrate a story.
This is the crux of your short story or novel. You can have a great beginning and excellent characters, but if there are no gripping plots or events in your story, it is sure to fall flat.
- Create a skeleton of your plot and then add the complications. Have a story and its consequences.
- Make events happen – there should be some important event in every chapter or scene. Make a checklist of events by asking yourself what should happen next.
- Put in interesting twists and turns in the story, but make it believable. You can create dramatic tension, by a roller coaster approach. At times, it seems the protagonist is succeeding and at others, everything seems to go wrong for him. This keeps the reader hooked.
- Add vivid settings to your story.
- The climax of the plot has to be powerful. Readers don’t want the ending to fall flat. Tie up all the loose ends and the mini or sub plots.
- Don’t drag the story after the climax.
- Resolve conflicts in a natural way. Don’t use natural calamities or strange new characters to solve the problems
One Last Word!
You might be tempted to give up on your story umpteen numbers of times. Don’t give up. You must finish your story. If you are not satisfied with your first attempt, revise it.
Once you have written it, make sure it reaches the rest of the world. Even if publishers or agents reject it (which is very likely for first time writers), do not despair and keep sending it. Write another story, or write a story online, if you don’t find a publisher.
You have to trust me on this one – it will get better with each attempt. It’s a long and tough road, but one with the sweetest fruits at the end. Keep writing!!!