How to write a story can sometimes be a confusing thing.
Here you will get a step by step plan to simplify all those things and make your life easier.
Start With An Idea
Since you are wondering how to start writing a story I’m sure it’s safe to say you have an idea in your head.
Let’s say it’s a good old fashioned pirate story.
Your story idea will suggest many of the story elements.
- Setting: probably in the Caribbean circa the 1500 or 1600s
- Characters: Pirates of course, maybe some innocent captives
Those were easy. Plot and theme will take a little more thinking.
What Is It You Want To Portray?
As you will find, plot and theme are interrelated. The theme is what the story is about: redemption, lost love, overcoming guilt etc.
The theme will impact the way you organize your plot. For example:
A story about two rival pirates searching for and fighting over buried treasure.
This might open with discovery of a map and climax with discovery of the treasure and a sword fight.
But the story of a man who was raised to be a vicar in the Church of England and is a pirate through a twist of fate will be a different story.
The story might open with him capturing a British ship but then transition to a flashback about his previous life.
One story will be more external and event driven. The other story will be more internal and character driven; two completely different stories.
When figuring out how to write a story you must think about what it is you want to portray to the reader.
Develop The Characters That Best Portray That Idea
OK, now that you know what you want to portray you need to decide who will portray it.
Choose a hero and a villain. You will also need to decide on something over which they will contend.
In the first scenario Black Bart will be the villain and Jon James will be the hero because he’s thefriendlier more appealing pirate. As before they are struggling over buried treasure.
In the second scenario things are a bit more complicated.
The hero is still Jon James but the villain is Captain William Windsor of the Royal Navy. The object over which they are struggling is Julia Jones, the object of both men’s affection.
Now, you will also need a cast of supporting characters as well. Each of these will have a job to do.
For example in the first scenario Jon James trusted side kick might be murdered by Black Bart. This will be the source of the drama.
It will also prove to the reader how serious this conflict is…life or death.
In the second scenario the side kick might act as a liaison between Jon James and Julia Jones. This might happen over the course of the story until he is caught by William Windsor and tried for piracy.
Revision – The Most Important Step
Each time you make a decision on how to write a story you will have a number of new questions. Each new question will provide a number of new directions in which to take your story.
This is a natural part of the process. You won’t know exactly what you are doing until you are done with it.
This is why revision, writing and rewriting over and over again, is so important. This is the part that so many writers slack off on. They give up on their stories just before they are finished. Don’t let this happen to you.
Keep going. Soon enough you’ll know how to write a story.