4 Helpful Tips to Remember When Writing a Story

Hollywood is a billion-dollar enterprise. People come to the movies to see their favorite stars and get immersed in the story. Stories make you fall in love, cry to tears, or bawl in laughter. This article will teach you how to write a story that will put your readers at the edge of their seats.

Facts indeed tell, and stories sell. This means storytelling is the best way to get your idea across and be accepted by your audience. Keep in mind our earliest ancestors survived the harsh conditions of ancient life by telling stories. Roger Bingham once said, “We tell stories to feel at home in the universe.”

I’m sure you’ve told a story to your friends and families before. Here are tips that can help you improve your storytelling skills and put your stories in writing.

Bring to Life a Hero

The best movies and novels center around an underdog who developed some type of power or skill. As the plot progresses, your main character strives to perform a heroic deed (save a damsel in distress, stop a bomb from exploding, or save the president of America) and eventually succeed in doing so.

When writing non-fiction, make sure you get a lot of information about your hero. Interview him or her, discover his or her flaws, dreams, and aspirations, and make their character relatable to your readers. If you decide to make yourself the hero of your story, be prepared to share your weaknesses and failures. People love siding with the underdog.

Here are just three of the most popular movie heroes in contemporary movies: Spiderman, Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter. What do they have in common? They started out as a confused, awkward young man who was unsure of himself. They have amazing powers and skills but were not aware of them at the beginning. They were the underdogs, unlikely heroes, someone moviegoers will root for.

When writing fiction, create your character as though he or she is a real person you can see, touch, and talk with. What is his eyes’ color, how long is her hair, his favorite sport, who is his favorite Disney princess, and so on? Create so much imagery around you to be consistent in the way you portray and talk about your character. Do this with all your characters as well.

Related Article: How To Tell A Story In English

Set the Location

Give your hero a home, neighborhood, and city. Stories center around your hero, and your hero moves about in his or her setting. Spiderman (or Peter Parker) lives in the dark and violent area of New York, which sets the arena for several confrontations with criminals and villains. With just the setting, you can already build the anticipation.

Setting pertains not just to the location but also the time or period. “Star Wars” took place in a galaxy far, far away, long, long time ago. With such a setting, you know you are in for an amazing intergalactic ride.

Related Article: How to Write an Interesting Travel Story

Establish your Plot

The plot is the conflict or the problem that your hero has to contend with. It is the battle between good and evil, and we know good always prevails. But to thicken your plot, let evil win a few rounds before your hero gets his act together and ultimately squishes the villain.

If you write about your hero waking up in the morning and brushing his teeth, you don’t have a story yet. You have to establish a conflict, a problem to solve. Conflict can be man against man, man against nature, man against God, man against toothbrush, etc. It is that x-factor that will set your story in motion, compel your hero to make himself a better person, and convince your audience to keep reading, listening, or watching.

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Decide the Point of View

This is completely based on your preference and comfort. Are you more comfortable writing in the first person or third person? It’s up to you, based on the effect you wish to create.

All stories have these four elements: characters (particularly the hero), setting, plot, and told in the writer’s preferred point of view. You miss one, then you don’t have a story. Other elements will follow as you develop your craft. The other elements are tone, mood, and style, but you can’t get to these if you don’t start writing.

You will not be an Orson Wells, Virginia Woolf, or Stephen King in one try, or maybe never. It doesn’t really matter anyway, just get that pen (or laptop) and start wow-ing people with your story.

If you’re an English learner, storytelling is one of the best ways to practice and improve. If you feel you can’t write a story and need to build your confidence first, visit LingualBox and chat with one of their online tutors. Tell them your story in English and make them listen at the edge of their seat.

Finally, be inspired by this quote from Sue Monk Kidd, a bestselling author: “Stories have to be told, or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”

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I am Edwin Estioko and I have years of experience in writing and editing for international audience. With a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Ministry, I am a published author of children's books and an elementary English textbook.