It boggles my mind how many times I hear people express an interest in writing a story but believe they cannot do it. When I ask them why, I always hear the same answer: No natural talent. I will just leave it up to the pros.
Say what now? Yes, you can. Writing is an art form where you can teach yourself the skills. Educate yourself. On the web, author forums provide tips from professionals and people who write as a hobby. The Absolute Write Forum is my favorite thus far. I signed up last month and have found out things in a few days then what I could have spent researching by myself for a year. It covers everything to writing fiction, nonfiction, freelancing, publishing, etc. I’m not saying you have to participate on an author forum, but it doesn’t hurt to obtain insider information on the writing industry. Plus, it’s great because all the information is located in one place (on one website). Saves a lot of time.
There are other websites and blogs specifically related to creative writing, which can be very helpful. And, they are easy to find. You just have to go to a search engine, type ‘how to write fiction’, and research the websites that interest you. If you can afford money on ink and paper, then print out what you find. For me, it is easier to jot notes down in a notebook, so I focus on just the key stuff.
What if the internet isn’t your thing? That is perfectly fine. You can go to your local library or visit a bookstore. Read books dedicated to this topic. On the other hand, when you read your favorite novels, this can help too. Make sure to pay attention to how these authors intrigued you. Study their writing approach.
The keys elements for storytelling are:
- Character-the people in your story
- Plot-the actions in your story
- Point of view-how your characters perceive and interpret their surroundings
- Setting-the places and times in your story
- Scene-brings all the different elements together
- Dialogue-how your characters speak
- Voice-how you arrange words on the page
- Beginning and Developing-how you open your story and keep the reader’s interest to the end
After researching these, you can apply what you learned by writing anything to get in the habit of exercising your mind as well as your fingers. You can write in a journal or diary. You can write short stories, essays, and letters. Write what motivates you.
If this is your first time attempting to write a short story or novel, here are some tips:
- Do not just tell what happened as a reporter would. You need more than informing your readers with Where? When? Who? How?
- You want to entertain your readers by setting a mood. Be descriptive. Give the answers to why things happened. You should show your readers how your characters feel. What are their motives? Give dialogue, and describe the setting.
- With first drafts, don’t be afraid to overwrite. And, you definitely shouldn’t think about proper technique. Just focus on getting your idea down on paper. You can always edit later.