“What makes a good story?” is a question many aspiring writers continue to ask. Knowing the key elements of a great story and understanding what satisfies the readers can help you write an excellent piece.
Below are some useful tips you can apply to write a good fiction story. So pull out your writing tools and start scribbling notes because we have a long way to go.
- 1 Find a Suitable Writing Corner
- 2 Strong Dramatic Content
- 3 Vary Your Writing’s Rhythm and Structure
- 4 Develop Believable and Memorable Characters
- 5 Effective Story Plot
- 6 Deep Setting
- 7 Story Conflict
- 8 Create an Enticing Beginning
- 9 Strike a Knockout Ending
- 10 Conclusion
Before you start writing, you need to find a suitable writing corner first. Having a clear writing space can enhance your productivity. Whether you choose to write through a pen, typewriter, or laptop, it is best to use a wide sturdy desk. Opt one with some drawers to place all the knick-knacks that can help you with your writing. Get a topnotch desk that is composed of high-quality China drawer fittings that can surely last you a lifetime.
‘The boy is happily cooking his meal in the kitchen’ is not a story concept that readers would be intrigued to read. But ‘the boy is happily cooking his meal in the kitchen, while many zombies are banging on the door’ is a scenario that has more dramatic potential.
Dramatic storytelling is comprised of key elements that make up a good story, like:
The second idea above has most of these elements. It is surprising because the readers will question, ‘where did the zombies come from?’ Then the answer to this question will indicate mystery and suspense.
Writing teachers often advise creative writing classes to compose shorter, but punchier sentences. Short sentences are an excellent way to increase the pace. Plus, they make the scenes display a tenser mood.
However, be careful of monotonous writing. Vary your sentence length. One way to tap out the rhythm of your sentences is to read your piece aloud. Doing so will help you hear their cadence, which can help you recognize if you sound monotonous or not.
Why do people find some characters more interesting than others? It is because they probably have one or more of the following:
- uniques voices, expressions, and personas
- riveting motivations
- intriguing weaknesses or strengths
- distinctive appearances
If you notice, the appearance comes last. Note that merely describing the character’s hair and eye color will not make him stand out. The key to a good story is creating characters you will surely remember if you stand next to them, even for a couple of minutes.
Each part of your story needs to be compelling to make it good. An opening of the story usually provides an introduction to the character’s world and plot scenarios. When it comes to the middle part of your piece, you can:
- Bring in new characters that can either help or hinder the main characters.
- Add subplots to build up your main story. A subplot is a secondary plot or a part of the primary plot that supports it.
- Reveal the motivations and goals of your characters.
- Escalate the narrative tension by increasing the risks of your characters.
How do you write a deeply engaging setting? Here are some pointers:
Don’t just provide the shape and color of the place. Describe it as if it has a personality. Is it old and dark, or is it bright and elegant? Using personification remarks can captivate your reader’s attention and imagination.
The setting where your characters grew up should change when they return. Not only because places do change as time goes, but because change is interesting and exciting. For instance, old neighbors may have moved or passed away, or the characters might feel different about the place after being away for so many years.
In case you write about a real historical or modern location, it is essential to identify the landmarks. Be familiar with the demographics, the affluent areas, and the poor ones. Know what the place is famous for. Learning all of these can enrich your setting details when writing.
Creating a story conflict is not just about violence, physical fights, or world wars. There are many types of conflict that you can use to enhance your story. So to write a great conflict, remember these four classifications:
This external conflict involves two or more characters that are against each other. It can be a gunfight, a robbery, or strife between families.
This conflict is an external struggle of the character against the forces of nature or animals.
This conflict is an internal struggle where the character must overcome his nature or choose his own path.
This conflict is about the character standing up against a large social group or cultural norm.
It is essential to have a good story beginning. You can hook readers on your story by introducing main conflicts and intriguing characters. Also, entice them by creating questions that will make the reader eager to determine the answer. Give them a taste of emotional power, excitement, and good laughs.
Your ending will either tempt the readers to read your other piece or just forget about your story. So how can you impress them?
- Resolve the central conflict of your story.
- Escalate the tension before providing the conclusion.
- It should not be predictable.
- Avoid miraculous plots.
- Make sure to keep the dramatic tension till the end.
Writing a good story will require a lot of writing experience and practice. Apply the tips provided above, and your writing craft will surely get you somewhere. Good luck!