So, you want to write a story, but you don’t know where to start? Perhaps you are having troubles developing characters, or writing something you're satisfied with? Maybe you're not getting enough viewers?
I am here to give my advice on writing the difference between a novel, and a great novel.
Who the hell are you, and why should we take your advice?
I’m not the most experienced, or the most talented writer on the planet. Probably not even on the forums. I do have my share fair of experience and competitive writing victories, both in and outside of the boards. I’ve been writing for seven years now, winning school and city story competitions for my works. I’ve also given much advice as I like to critique others on their works. I’ll put some of my personal writing tips into this topic.
What is a story?
A story can be any type of written plotline. Any genre, any level of fantasy or realism you want. Complete freedom in writing your very own story, characters, plot twists, scenes. Whatever you want.
Where should I start?
Before you start writing any first draft, or before you even pick up a pen, the most important thing for any successful story is coming up with a unique plotline. The plotline is the backbone to your story. You don’t want it to be something that’s already been done. You need to be original. Let your imagination run free and think of what you want to write about. Then, summarize the main basis of your story into one plot. Here’s an example:
”Ace detectives investigate bridge causing many to suicide without reason”
This was the thesis for my Suicide Bridge story. Try to avoid using character names when coming up with your thesis. Say your main character is a circus performer. “The circus performer learns the hidden secrets of the circus industry”, using what she is instead of her actual name. This way you know where your character should start.
The next part of the guide will be what you should be doing after you come up with your one sentence summary. I’ll divide it into four sections. The plotting, the first draft, the second draft and the typed draft.
Probably the most important part, and where your story starts. Think of what your plotline is, and what kinds of characters you need. Firstly, develop your main character (s). Don’t do more then 3 to start, until after your timeline is done. Come up with every little thing about your character. What they look like, their personality traits, their beliefs, their past, their ties to your other characters, and in some cases, their inhuman abilities, such as if your character is a superhero.
These descriptions should be in depth. Everything from hair and eye colour, height and weight, skin tone, religion. Make an in depth past that made your character who they are. Also, when giving your characters personality, it’s okay to give them more then one emotions. That’s natural as humans. However, don’t make their personality all over the place. Try to base it off 2-4 emotions that they are most known for. You want to give your character actual character, not just some all over the place generic character that no one understands who they’re supposed to be.
After your finished creating your main protagonists, it’s time to make a plotline. You already have what your story is mainly about, but it needs smaller details. Things that build up to your climax, possible plot twists your audience doesn’t see coming, good build up of your characters. Your characters should be liked by the audience. If the audience doesn’t care about your characters, why would they care about what happens to them in the story. You can make them likeable by making characters that the audience might relate to, giving your characters good comic relief lines, or creative lines, or possibly putting your character in constant struggle and near death experiences until your readers feel sorry for them. In pretty much every genre of fictional stories, there needs to be a struggle your characters go through.
Make a timeline, and plot all of your important parts in the story. Make sure to give a good build up to your climax, or make something unexpected happen to make your story worth reading. Make sure to add only big events. How many there are depends on the length of your story, but there should be at least 4. Smaller and less important scenes can be filled in later.
Next, create your support characters. Give them smaller descriptions then your main characters. Looks, personality traits and ties to other characters are the most important things here, but you can give them a past as well if you wish.
The last step is creating your world. It can be fictional, or based in real places. If you base them in real places, you should have a small idea of what those places are like. Laws, important landmarks, people and country beliefs, as well as climate are important factors. The same for if your creating a fictional world, all these should be factors you think of. What is the weather like? Is your world populated, or on the brink of destruction? How technologically advanced is your world? Are there special rules to the way your world works? What are some important places, like ruins, towns, mountains where big events take places. These are all things you should think of when creating your setting. Remember a time period as well.