You want to write a story but you don’t know how to start? Don’t worry,we’re going to tell you exactly what to do.
The first step to writing a story is deciding what kind of story you want to write. In creative writing,this is called character development. When you develop your characters,you will learn a lot about writing and will become a better storyteller. Let’s get into it.
Types of Stories
Deciding what kind of story you want to write is pretty simple. There are three basic types of stories:
- Traditional. These arethe kinds of stories that you have seen a million times. Usuallybased on real-life events or people,traditional stories follow a set pattern that has been repeated for hundreds ofyears. You know,the kind of stories that make you feel sleepy. Traditionalstories can be based on anything. Think of Little Red Riding Hood,Hansel and Gretel,or even Hamlet. Each of these stories has a traditionalformula that hasn’t changed much since it was first written. If you’ve neverwritten a traditional story, now might be a good time to start. They are easy to write andthey rarely require a lot of research. For more information on traditionalstories,check out How to Write Classic Novels by Michael Winkle.
- Modern. These are stories that were originally told in the 1950s and 60s.They are similar to traditional stories,but they follow a different formula. Instead of tellingstories about historical figures,modern stories are often fantastic or surreal. They don’t have to,but authors often use this kind of story to investigate social issues,whether it’s racism or sexism. Since they were first told,modern stories have followed a specific formula that hasn’tchanged much. Some examples of modern stories are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The GreatGatsby or John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. If you’ve never written a modern story, now might bea good time to start. They are easy to write and don’t require a lot ofresearch. For more information on modern stories,check out How to Write An Epic Fantasy Novel by Michael Winkle.
- Post-Modern. These are the stories that you might write if you decided to take a moremodern approach to storytelling. Instead of following a formula,post-modern authorship uses various techniques to create unexpectedreadability. Some of the most common techniques that post-modern writers use are:
- Brevity. Instead of writing a long novel,post-modern authors will write short stories or novellas. Many of thegreats,like E.L. James or Chuck Palahniuk,are probably best known for their shorterstories. Short stories allow for more creativity and experimentation thanlonger novels,and that’s what makes them so important. If you’ve never written abilistic novel,now might be a good time to start. Post-modern stories are often entering or existing in the present. This is different from traditional stories,which are often set in the past. Since these are stories that youmight write now, they don’t necessarily have to be set in the present day. You can use present-day settings as long as the story still works. An example of post-modern writing is Jonathan Lethem’sThe Fortress of Solitude, which is set in 20th century New York City. If you’ve never written a post-modern story,now might be a good time to start. They are easy to write and don’t require a lot ofresearch. For more information on post-modern stories,check out How to Write a Short Story That Will Spark Ideas by Michael Winkle.
- Intertextuality. This is where,instead of having a straightforward narrative, you will find multiplestories that allude to or reference one another. For example, in WilliamGibson’sNeuromancer,we find references to The Lord of the Rings, Lolita,and A Clockwork Orange. When a reader catches on to the fact that these are allreferences to other stories,they will have to stop and think. Intertextuality is a very important tool increative writing,and it’s something that you’ll want to incorporate into your ownwork. For more information on intertextuality,check out How to Include Allusions and References in Your Own Work by Michael Winkle.
- Playfulness. This is where you will write funny stories,but you don’t necessarily need to write a funny story to use this technique. Humor is something that evokes a reactionin people,and that’s what you want as a writer. When someone reads your work and reacts to ithumorously,you will know that you’ve succeeded.
- Exposition. This is where you will give your characters,setting,and plot a bit of context. It’s not necessary that you write a lot about exposition. Simplyintrospecting on what makes your characters unique will do. Maybe they are masters of martial arts,or they are just really good at negotiating. Some really effective examples of exposition instorytelling are The Silence of the Lambs and Black Swan. These are stories that would benefit froma bit of exposition. Simply identifying your characters and the world themsevles in these novels would have helped a lot. If you’ve never written an exposition-heavy novel, now might be a good time tostart. They are easy to write and don’t require a lot of research. For moreinfo on expository novels,check out Writing Tips for New Authors by Michael Winkle.
- Imagination. This is where you will allow your characters to enter the story in a way that not all of us writers get to experience. Your characters can have wild dreams that inspire your writing,or they can visit places,meet new people,or engage in activities that you could neverinclude in a real world. As an author,you have the ability to create all of these things through your writing.
- Ostensible. This is where you will make your work seemlike a genuine effort by including details that are not obvious to the reader. If you’ve ever seen Sherlock Holmes,you know exactly what this type of writing is. The difference is that sometimes,rather than focusing on one mystery,authors will create a series of mysteries that all connect to one another.
Writing a story is a lot easier than you might think it is. It just takes a lot of patience,and you’ve got to follow some simple guidelines. To start,you’ll want to brainstorm story ideas,and once you have a few,you’ll want to find the one that seems the most original and exciting. From there,you’ll want to work on rewriting it into a proper first draft. Don’t worry,we’re here to help,and we hope that this article will guide you to becoming a better author.