Today’s article is going to be kind of a guide for newbie writers, who want to write a story, but do not know how to do that, from a writer that has got certain experience already. In this text, I have tried to mark main stages of work and to give basic recommendations for newcoming writers to avoid making rude mistakes.
It is not a secret, that when a person sits to write something for the first time and sees a blank page before their eyes, there is a total chaos in their mind as a rule. They doubtfully can imagine what they are going to do, where will their story lead and how it will end; in most part of cases newbies don’t even know the clear sequence of actions. As a writer, I know about that from my own experience, so this text was written with the only goal: to explain each newbie how to write their first story.
How Does It Usually Happen?
I’ve written my first story during the only evening. Yes, only one evening was needed for me to think out a topic, sit and write my first text without thinking or planning it at all.
Of course, this work of art was not edited at all, but was published in the internet pretty soon. The public met it there with warmth: there were much more good comments than bad ones. This happened despite the fact, that I was “driven mad” in the process of writing and the huge piece of story was devoted to past events that did not have anything to do with the main conflict of a story.
It is hard to believe now, but such a story was even admired by people in the web! Still, I wrote it without any plan, without understanding where to move it and how to finish it. There were no factors that could guarantee this adventure to become something adequate and readable.
This is why I wish you sincerely to start your first text when you have at least minimal knowledge about the process and your first writing experience could be luckier. To help you reach that, I’ve tried to clearly determine the sequence of actions you should perform before starting a story, and during writing it.
How to Write a Story?
While working on any literature work (including a story) there are three main stages that can be marked:
If you miss or do not work on any of the stages as intended, then it is at least naive to expect getting a somehow worthy result. But when you see simple local tasks before your eyes and complete them, you can reach even the highest peak that seemed to be unreachable. Everything depends on you.
Stage 1: Planning a Story
Before you sit in front of a laptop or a writing book, you need to think on certain moments carefully.
- What is the goal of your writing? Do you want to entertain the reader, or to bring them any idea?
- What is the story about? What is its topic? What is the main idea?
- Who will be the main character?
Maybe, these questions will scare you. But if to give precise answers to them, you will be able to lead your thinking the right way. First, you need to determine what you are going to write exactly.
If the story is absolutely entertaining, then you should concentrate on a plot, try to make it full of interesting and unexpected episodes. If you want to give your reader a certain idea, then you need to think how to realize that: think out a plot and characters revealing your idea as clear and bright as possible.
Then, when the goal is known, you should correlate it with a plot that you thought out and decide if it fits tasks you put for the text. If it does not, then think how to correct it.
For instance, you want to let your reader understand the idea of Universal justice: Good always wins Evil. But your plot looks like a nuclear action with lots of blood and corpses. Obviously, the plot does not fit to illustrate justice ideas.
Then you need to choose: you write the entertaining action only, or you look for a plot which would fit your idea.
Now it is time to take your laptop or copy book. But it is not a time to start writing. You need to write at least a simple plan for your upcoming story. How should you do that? Everything is pretty simple.
First, write down your main idea, so it could stand before your eyes all the time, and then describe the sequence of events in your story. You better keep to the rule “more is better” at the start. Do not be afraid to include all ideas and thoughts into a plan, you will leave only the most suitable ones in it later. They will become a solid basis for your story.
In future, when you’ll gain more experience and mastery, you will be able to make your plans shorter or start writing spontaneously. But for first times, it is better to write it all down in details, so the story could not be led into labyrinths of your imagination.
Here I think that I must warn you about the certain fact: be ready for tons of difficulties during this preparation stage. These difficulties are good, because it is much better for you to solve them BEFORE you start writing then to be stuck when the work is already in progress.
Main problems are covered in lack of clear passages from scene to scene, absence of character, place and object names, and many other details. The planning stage exists exactly for this: to think out names and descriptions of characters and to fill in white spots in your plot beforehand. This means, the better is your job effectiveness on this stage, the faster and simpler will be your story writing.
As a result of a work described below, you should have a plan, where:
- Main story idea is clearly determined;
- Events of a story are described in a short but sequent way;
- Names and descriptions of characters are;
- Names of all places mentioned in a story are.
Not that many, agreed? But that is a minimum which will let you pass the next stage with comfort.
Stage 2: Story Writing
This is the main, but not decisive part. When having a good plan, writing becomes a clearly technical procedure. Still, you should follow certain recommendations here as well.
First, do not delay finishing your story. Yeah, I know it is often impossible to write a full thing during a one single night, but my personal motto is “no day without a line”.
This means, you should write every day. More is better. If you’ll have a break for a couple days, it will be reflected in your text, and this won’t be good for sure. So, you are the one who is interested in finishing your story as fast as possible.
Second, avoid plot and writing cliches as strictly as you can. It is important to understand that simplicity of a style is much better than fake lusciousness in most cases.
Newbie writers like to decorate their texts with various forms of fictional expression: long descriptions full of epithets and metaphors, poems and epigraphs inserted. This mostly does not fit the story. And young authors mostly get trapped by cliches and plot stamps.
Plot stamps – actions and tricks which writers, directors and dramaturgs use the most often. Yes, do not be wondered of that: if you base your text on the plot (or a part of a plot) of any well-known movie, TV-series or videogame, your reader will notice that for sure.
Additionally, there are plot moves and complete scenes which were repeated in books and movies for thousands of times already. Here are: main character’s description through the mirror, numerous suicide accidents of heroes in modern prose, and of course, wizards and mages throwing fireballs.
This does not mean those things to be tabooed. Just know that if you use them in your story, your responsibility for the overall text level increases significantly. Think about that: the reader who swallowed several dozens of films and books where heroes interrupted their existence for some reason expects something special from your story, and it will be very difficult to impress them!
And third, do not be afraid to write! Do not try copying someone else’s style; do not be ashamed of phrases appearing in your head. As the practice proves, they fit the most (of course if they are not stamps).
Your story is a part of your soul, your individuality, and it gains the form you give it. As for me, this is the key moment in forming the author’s style. Listen to yourself, and your texts will gain their pure harmony.
Stage 3: Story Editing
This part is very important, though it is often neglected.
After a story is written, give it and your brain a rest for 1-2 weeks. This is required for you to be able to read the story as someone else’s text: you will be able to find and correct mistakes effectively only after that.
What is the point of editing process? You read the text thoroughly and slowly, and correct mistakes and issues you notice. Do not be afraid to rewrite or even throw out sentences and paragraphs. If you think text to fin after that – then it is true.
Try reading slowly, like if you checked durability of each phrase. Then read the text in a regular tempo and pay attention to places where you fall off the rhythm: maybe you need to edit them in order to make them more readable. Then read the story aloud: make sure there appeared more stops, and correct what you can.
Repeat this procedure at least five times. After that, print out the text if possible, and read it from the paper.
Yes, I bet you to see that it is not that good as it seemed to be on the display of your computer. Make notes and corrections on a printed exemplar, and then bring them to an electronic document. Then, when there will be nothing you could correct, give a story to someone of your interested friends – they will probably notice some more issues.
Know at once: it is impossible to correct all the mistakes, to make your text absolutely melodic and smooth and to keep your phrases precise at the same time. Something will not play, this is normal. There is no ideal text in the world, but this does not mean you don’t have to edit your story carefully. Your writing can be known as complete only after editing.
Well, that is all. You got familiar with the method of story writing, figured out its stages and actions for every of them. Have a success in practice!