How do you write a Good Story?
Read widely: 'But I want to write' you say. There are thousands of great books out there already and if you don't read at least some of them how are you going to know if yours is any good? Existing novels are a great harvesting field for basing your own ideas on too. When you read, do so with a notepad and mark down anything that impressed you. Maybe there is something you can improve on or adapt for your own work. Copying word for word will only get you into trouble but there is nothing wrong with the ideas generated from reading other people's work.
Know your target audience: There is no point trying to write a high tech science fiction novel if all your readers are fans of the fantasy genre, nor is there going to be point getting your werewolf fans to read your latest vampire novel. It is a good idea to set in your mind who it is that you are written for before you even start writing. Invest some time into researching what is popular in your chosen genre and it will be time well spent.
Do your research: With the rise of the internet there really is no excuse for this one. You'd not try and complete your job application without researching the company you work for. The same applies to writing of any kind. If you don't research your subject material your readers will know. Trying to sound an expert in a subject you've done no research on, is going to make you sound foolish and destroy your credibility as an author.
Story Structure: Knowing how a story is constructed is a big step in the right direction. There is a lot more to it that just a beginning, middle and an end, although every story needs those. You need to put a lot of effort into the plot of a story. A plot is more than a series of events told in sequence. The plot is what makes things happen in the story. There is no such thing as a wholly original plot but there are different methods of using basic plots and it there you need to be creative.
Create believable characters: Characters are how you relate the story to the audience. You want your readers to fall in love with your heroes and detest your villains. In order for the readers to do so, the characters need to appear real. Invest in a good character interview and invest time in all of them, even the ones you don't like. Especially the ones you don't like. There is nothing better than a villain who is hated by all.
Setting: Where your novel is set is just as important as the characters the inhabit the world. The setting of a novel can be as powerful as any character if it is used right. Where ever you choose to set your story, using small details to build a bigger impression works well. Try to avoid clich's as much as possible (in all aspects of writing) and never ever describe the dust floating through a patch of sunlight. Overused metaphors are boring to read and will disengage your reader.
Enjoy it: There is no point in writing about something you don't like. The readers will know when they pick up your novel. The words will fall flat and they'll not enjoy it. Writing is tough but once you get into it, it is the most enjoyable pastime there is. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.
These are just a few of the ingredients needed to make a good story and they will set you on the right path. Just remember to do your research and very soon you'll be scribing that best seller!
Written by : Debbie Rushby, Hull, UK (BA Hons English 2:1)
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )