A story has to have something happening in order for it to go anywhere. Seems simple enough, right? Events A, B, C, and so on carry us from cover to cover. What else could I say on the subject? As it turns out, I could say quite a bit. Good stories do not hum along at a consistent pace with only nice circumstances. Something difficult or even bad must happen, forcing our main character (or characters) to shift directions. This is called conflict, and it should be present in any tale you spin. In fact, you will likely find many instances to introduce conflict as you write. Your primary source of conflict is going to be the event that motivates your hero into action. However, he or she will not face a straight path to victory. Obstacles will pop up, creating the potential for more conflict and even subplots. Keep … Keep reading!
One of the elements of writing that I enjoy is creating new worlds, or at least modifying our existing world for the sake of the story. Of course, when I say “world”, I merely mean the environment in which the story takes place. Some authors create elaborate landscapes full of rich history, as J. R. R. Tolkien did in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Others limit the scope of their universe to just a few walls, like the train in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The length of your tale will alter the boundaries you can create; a short story of fewer than 10,000 words does not have the space to create something like Middle Earth (unless the world you’re making is itself the character), and a novel of 50,000 words or more will almost certainly consist of a good deal more than one or two … Keep reading!
All stories have a plot, a sequence of events that brings the reader from the beginning of the tale to the end. And some authors approach the plot with varying degrees of detail and planning. This post is going to be mostly a recounting of my own experience and preference with a little explanation of what I have heard other authors do. It is up to you as a writer to determine how involved your plotting needs to be, and if your current approach has not been working for you, I would suggest you give a different method a try. I would classify myself as a moderate plotter. I do not necessarily plot the entire story out at once, but I will usually outline at least three or four chapters at a time so that when I start writing I don’t have to stop at the end of one chapter … Keep reading!
Stories involve people, and good stories are filled with believable characters. These characters might spring forth from your mind in some form, but I find that taking those raw ideas and carefully expanding on them is the best way to make them come alive. You do not necessarily need to flesh out every last detail about each main character, and secondary, tertiary, or lower characters probably will not need much time to put together. I would not say to spend so much time on character development that you have no time left to actually write your story, but laying a little groundwork at the beginning should save you a lot of time down the road. One thing about character building, especially for your main characters, is that you will end up with more information than will actually be expressed in the story. My preference is to create a mini-bio of my primary … Keep reading!