Intro: How to Write a Story
Long time no see! I am so sorry that I haven't been posting anything in AGES! A lot has been happening though, but I have started a new ritual (see last step for more information). Anyways, I have won three contests so far, and the past two were won after my last instructable (the one on Sugared Cranberries). Thanks to everyone who voted for me! Anyways, in this Instructable, I will be teaching you all how to write a story. Writing is definitely my strong point, as I have a wonderful English teacher and an amazing mother and grandmother and the best friend ever to encourage me. Writing is not something that you can simply learn, though, as writing is expressing yourself through words. Although this will teach you the basics, it's up to you to do the rest yourself. Good luck!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
To properly write a story, you will need...
Your handy dandy notebook - a pen or a pencil - your imagination
Step 2: Start by Choosing a Title
You couldn't have a book without a title, could you? In the pictures above, you can see the titles that I was thinking about for the story I was writing (and for stories ahead). I sincerely apologize for the raining picture I doodled... Believe me, if you know me, you should know that I doodle excessively. Anyways, here is the list of titles I was pondering upon...
Words Left Unspoken
I Never Had Any Time
I thought that Everquest was an AWESOME title, so my new book's title is "Everquest". On every step, you will see a section for "Quick Tips". So down below, I have provided you some of these tips.
1 - Choose a title that is not already taken! This is probably the hardest step, as you have to do some research on your title to make sure that it is not taken. My title, Everquest, is a long forgotten video game I believe. But my storyline is nothing like this video game, so I believe I am good for now...
2 - Your title should relate to the book! My favorite types of books are the ones thatt the title makes sense in the middle of the book, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone or any of the other Harry Potter books.
3 - Your title must be creative! Almost nobody will ever pick up a book with a boring title, like "My Name Is..." or "Camo for Life", unless they enjoy undiscovered gems. Your book always has the potenital, but if the title isn't creative or intriguing, no one is going to find out how amazing your story actually is!
Step 3: Choose Your Characters
Now, your book needs some characters! The hero, the dimwitted sidekick, a criminal mastermind... Your characters could be anything! Famous basketball player, soldier, superhero, a murderer (too eerie?), a carpenter, or just about anything you could imagine! Keep in mind the audience you wish to appeal to, because you don't want a six year old reading a book full of violence and horror, so you need to make the characters in your book appropriate for your targeted age group.
In my book, Everquest, I have a variety of characters that mostly appeal to young adults and older. The book is a little bit too mature for those below ten, so my audience could relate more to my characters. Below are my main characters for the series...
Lana - main character; died in war; brave; positive; cunning
Jason - loved Lana; strong; brave; intelligent
George - supportive; encouraging; witty
Ashley - Lana's best friend; died of cancer; funny; optomistic; smart
My characters reflect the personalities of my friends and family. For example, the character Ashley is based off of my actual friend Ashley, whose personality is much like Ashley's. I am Lana, as I am Ashley's best friend (who did not die of cancer). Jason is a lot like my boyfriend (whose name is not Jason), and George is based off of my dad. Other characters can be seen in the picture, the names that I wrote down.
1 - Your characters should have names that appeal to yourr audience, or names that your readers will remember. For example, in the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is the main character. You will forever remember her name because it is creative and rememberable.
2 - The characters can easily be based off of people in real life, even if you do not know them very well. For example, a smart, technological character with a vast knowledge on computers could be based off of Steve Jobs. People that inspire you could help you develop your characters.
3 - Make sure to give detailed descriptions on your characters. If you simply say, "Lana had orange hair and blue eyes," although that is a description, you want the reader to be able to visualize the character. "Lana's hair was a firey orange, and it reached just past her midback. Her eyes were blue as the sky itself, and they were brilliantly beautiful" is a much better description, because you can visualize what Lan looks like.
Step 4: Story Line - Plot
Every story needs a plot, because without a plot, your story will be thrown together and would not make any sense. If a book doesn't make any sense, no one is going to want to read it. So, it the picture above, I have provided a visual representation of what a plot line looks like. Below, I will discuss what my plot line of Everquest is. Again, please excuse my drawings of the animals and of Hagrid. I couldn't resist!
Exposition - Lana and Jason are fighting against a group of terrorists called "Danger", and Lana is killed before she launches a grenade at the remaining terrorists.
Rising Action - Lana learns that since she has a special characteristic in her soul called "Hope", she is able to go on a quest that will restore her life on Earth.
Climax - Lana goes on the quest, in hopes that she will return to Earth. There are many dangers in the Everlands, and along the way, she meets her deceased friend Ashley.
Falling Action - Jason, not knowing that Lana is going on a quest to restore her life, plots against the terrorists, and dies trying
Resolution - Lana finds out that Jason has died, and abandons her quest to join him, as he also had Hope. By abandoning her quest, Lana puts the mortal world in danger
(Continues onto Everfall)
I just gave away the whole book! But really, this is basically how to set up your plot line. Remember that the actions must be sequential and not just - plop! - thrown together.
1 - Make sure that your plot line makes sense. You have to put the beginning with the beginning, the end with the end, etc.
2 - Try other methods of organization as well! For instance, you could use a bubble map, which is used for description purposes, or a flow chart.
3 - Do not add too many components to your story. If, for instance, you add too many characters, the reader could be confused as to who is who.
Step 5: Enhancing Your Vocabulary and Deciding on Your Point of View
Enhancing your Vocabulary
Every story requires a developed, engaging variety of word choice (as my English/Language Arts teacher always says). Words such as "good" and "things" are unacceptable, as these words are not descriptive, engaging, or developed. These are kindergarten words, which bring down the intelligence in your writing. In the picture, I have made a "This For That" chart, something I thought that would assist you in your choosing of words. For instance, you could switch "pretty" for "gorgeous", or even "beautiful". In the chart, I also have something that says "Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement". THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR WRITING!!! Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement is a term used to describe a pronoun and, you guessed it, an antecedent. For example, "things" can refer to just about anything. A dog, a cat, a toy, or even a book. "Things" is a nondescriptive way of stating what you are trying to point out. Read the following sentence : "I cannot stand those things! They tear at my shoes and bite my toes! I will not tolerate those - those - those destructive creatures in my home!" You were probably left wondering what "things" could possibly mean. That is why Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement is vital to your story. Anyways, your vocabulary plays a major role in the success of your story!
1 - Words such as "vivid" and "wondrous" are descriptive as well, and any words that can thoroughly explain what you are trying to say should be used.
2 - Stumped as to what words you should use to replace your dull vocabulary? Recources such as the Internet or, more importantly, a Thesaurus should most definitely be used.
Point of View
Point of View is also an important part of your book. There are four different points of view, as shown below:
Objective Point of View - With the objective point of view, the writer tells what happens without stating more than can be inferred from the story's action and dialogue. The narrator never discloses anything about what the characters think or feel, remaining a detached observer.
Third Person Point of View - Here, the narrator does not participate in the action of the story as one of the characters, but lets us know exactly how the characters feel. We learn about the characters through this outside voice.
First Person Point of View - In the first person point of view, the narrator does participate in the action of the story. When reading stories in the first person, we need to realize that what the narrator is recounting might not be the objective truth. We should question the trustworthiness of the accounting.
Omniscient and Limited Omniscient Points of View - A narrator who knows everything about all the characters is all knowing, or omniscient. A narrator whose knowledge is limited to one character, either major or minor, has a limited omniscient point of view.
(Information derived from this educational website)
When deciding on your point of view, you as the writer must choose a) how you want to participate in the story and b) how you want your reader to feel while reading the story. In Everquest, I used the First Person Point of View, because I wanted the reader to feel as though they were in the story itself. However, this part is up to you. Also, there are no Quick Tipes for this section (sorry!).
Step 6: Sentence Structure and Variation
Sentence structure is vital in storytelling. Using single clauses for your whole story bores the reader and causes them to put down the book and never read it again. Below, I have described the four sentence types:
Simple Sentence - A simple sentence has only one independent clause, and is very bland. These should be used to a minimal.
Example : I like dogs.
Compound Sentence - A compound sentence has two independent clauses that are joined by a semicolon (;) or a subordinate conjunction (for, and, nor, but, and, yet, so)
Example : I like dogs, but I do not know how to care for them.
Complex Sentence - A compound sentence has an independent clause and one dependent clause joined by a transitional word. These can easily be confused with compound sentences.
Example : When I get a dog, I promise I will take care of it because I like dogs.
Compound-Complex Sentence - A compund-complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
Example : Though I prefer large dogs, I would be content with a smaller dog, and I wouldn't mind it.
Keep in mind that I am definitely not an expert in sentence types (believe me, after several individual study sessions with my teacher and lots of practice, I am still SO confused about sentence structures). Thus, there are not Quick Tips for this section either (I would probably confuse you even more).
Step 7: Now, Go Write a Story!
Now it's your turn. I want you to go write a story and press the "I Made It!" button! That would mean the world to me... I also would love it if you would heart, comment, share, and follow me! Now, the moment you have been waiting for... The new tradition! This tradition is like a shoutout system. To qualify, you must be:
1 - an active member!
2 - a member that contributes to this site!
Okay, so every Instructable I make, I will put the member's username, my favorite Instructable of theirs, and a link to their profile! There will only be three, and it's not that hard to make the shout out list! So, the first member will be...
LolAshley - LolAshley (my best friend and partner in crime) has made the shout out list! She has so many Instructables, and my favorite one so far is either the How To Study Better or her Light Up Espeon Pillow, for those of you who love Pokemon. Way to go Ashley! Lots of hugs!
RaniaPeet - Awesomest member ever! Just kidding... But she has SO MANY AWESOME 'IBLES! My absolute favorite is her Giant Spider, because, to all of you Harry Potter fans out there, it totally looks like an achromantula or Aragog.
Now that this tradition has started, how about you try to become applicable? Post a new Instructable worthy of everyone's attention! Also, leave suggestions, comments, concerns, and requests in the comment section! Hugs! -loompiggytutorials