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How to Write A Story: 10 Stages to a Compelling Narrative

Learning how to craft a tale in such a way that it transports readers on a memorable journey is critical to developing into a great writer. Here are ten (10) steps to follow to ensure that your book’s final draft has a compelling, memorable storyline.

Develop your tale in ten (10) straightforward steps:

1. Examine examples of compelling story development.

Reading is an excellent approach to developing writing at any level of the writing process, as great writers demonstrate how to the art properly.

When reading your next novel, ponder the following questions:

  • How do the novel’s characters evolve throughout time?

  • What is the novels’ primary sequence of events (what occurs and when?)

  • Where is the narrative set?

  • What contribution does each setting make to the overall structure and development of the story?

You might like to read the following experts on tale development:

  • John le Carré- He is well-known for the suspenseful narratives of his spy novels.

  • Stephen King, whose horror and supernatural thriller novels are commonly adapted for movies due to their tight storylines

  • Tolkien, J.R.R. (whose Lord of the Rings has been voted the best single plot arc in a multi-novel series)

You can gain insights by reading the work of contemporary best-selling authors (particularly regarding what is marketable).

Nonetheless, many famous authors (for example, Charles Dickens) continue to be read today for their masterfully paced, well-structured novels.

2. Consider the following critical questions about story development.

After you’ve completed the bulk of your work, consider the following questions about the development of your story:

How have the central characters evolved during the story?

Why have they altered their behavior?

What have the characters (and viewers) discovered about the basic predicament or premise of the novel that they were unaware of at the beginning?

What are the story’s primary themes? (For instance, ‘overcoming adversity or ‘the risk of obsession’)

Once you have ascertained the results of the preceding questions, keep them in mind as you revise. Is there any time in the plot where a minor change could help bring the theme to the light?

Perhaps your primary character’s development isn’t as obvious as you’d like. Alternatively, not enough change or development has occurred to show your key theme. Maintaining track of your plot—not simply what occurs but also the reasons for plot events and their effects—will assist you in crafting a more enjoyable novel.

3. Plot your tale using a plotting approach.

Curiosity and good ideas are the foundation of great storylines.

It helps if your narrative opens with an exciting hypothetical circumstance (as in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when a despotic governmental system criminalizes independent thought as “thoughtcrime”).

A strong story idea, on the other hand, should be fleshed out through a targeted plotting process that shapes your story.

Creating a detailed summary is a beneficial practice for allowing your characters and plot concepts to develop and settle. While you draft, you may stray significantly from your outline. Even so, it will assist you in approaching your book as a cohesive whole.

4. Create a timeline of the plot’s event in your story.

When you grasp the “when” of your story, the plot you are developing becomes easy.

Create a chronology of the plot events in your novel as an activity.

Create a chapter for each branch in your timeline, containing a synopsis of the most fundamental story details. For instance, ‘The protagonist discovers their parents’ identities and proceed to seek them out.’)

Even if you do not expect to plot your entire work in advance, you should nonetheless develop a timetable. As you draft, fill it out in summary form to create a concise visual reference. It’ll help you recollect where your plot has taken you thus far and the general flow of events.

Having a material like this enables you to transition between the detailed process of composing scenes and chapters and the important macro processes of viewing the bigger picture.

5. Develop the characters in your draft/manuscript in fascinating ways.

After you have completed the preceding steps, it is time to consider how the characters in your material or manuscript will develop.

Prior to beginning to write the material, determine the fundamental aims of each primary chapter. Begin discussing how these factors, when combined with personality attributes, could contribute to their development.

For example, a bashful college student aspiring to be a prominent scholar may meet a lecturer with whom he develops an extraordinary, lasting bond. Obstacles to the character achieving their goals could include academic difficulties or fraudulent plagiarism charges.

Whatever tale concept you choose, ensure that your characters evolve in fascinating ways. Demonstrate how their desires (or anxieties) influence their choices. Demonstrate the repercussions that follow.

6. 5W’s change

A “story” is comprised of the 5W’s—who, what, why, where, and when.

Which characters are significant in your story?

What is their predicament?

Why are they in it?

What location and time period does the story take place in?

A great tale is more than pleasing responses to the aforementioned questions. Additionally, it demonstrates some progress in each of these categories.

For instance, your protagonist could be a trainee policewoman living in a rural hamlet. She’s considering abandoning her career path due to her dissatisfaction with small-town life. Suddenly a local triple homicide draws her into some of the most perilous (and fascinating) aspects of police work.

The “who” is subject to change: Perhaps, as a result, the trainee toughens up and develops a high level of competence in her job. The “what” (objective) can change: they understand their calling is to serve their community, which may be a result of the new, important connections and relationships they established while performing their police duties. She, too, may someday leave for the big metropolis, wiser and more experienced (a change in ‘where’).

If you successfully adjust each of these narrative aspects, you will take the reader on a journey and have created your story.

One approach to ensure that this progression occurs is to plan your book.

7. Create a storyboard by outlining scenes.

Whether you utilize index cards, software, or a cloud-based story planner for writers, creating a storyboard is beneficial for story development.

In as few as two lines, outline the major events of each scene, including which of your characters will be involved and the scene’s objective. While plotting your novel and developing the tale, you can rearrange scenes as the story dictates until you arrive at a sequence of scenes that makes sense to you.

Occasionally, you will discover that the sequence of two or more scenes should be reversed. Occasionally, you may discover that an earlier scene is more suited to the conclusion of the novel owing to its content or tone. This procedure will assist you in ensuring that your story flows and develops smoothly.

8. Discover how to create a story through the use of subplots.

A subplot is a parallel or auxiliary plot that serves as a counterpoint to your primary story arc.

To cite a well-known example, the children’s preoccupation with their mysterious, reclusive neighbor Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley (and their eventual contact with him) is a subplot to the main tale (a trial exposing race politics in which the children’s father Atticus is involved).

In Lee’s novel, the events surrounding Boo Radley serve to reinforce the major plot arc. Through their interactions with Boo, the children learn a valuable lesson. They discover that fabricating imaginative stories about others and transforming them into bogeymen is a doubtful substitute for confronting their fear of the unknown and obtaining ‘the full story about someone. In this way, Lee employs her subplot to emphasize the major legal difficulties of the novel.

9. Utilize both character-driven and action-driven narrative arcs.

A story is propelled ahead by “change.” It is accomplished through moments that are both action-driven and character-driven.

For instance, character-driven passages demonstrate the stakes (for example, the main character’s passionate relationship with their child). This heightens the tension and intensity of action sequences such as high-speed chases, as we are aware of all the personal, beloved reasons behind the main character’s will to survive. To build your plot satisfactorily, maintain a balance between action-driven and character-driven sequences.

The same rules apply even if your work is less violent and dramatic, such as regency romance. For example, demonstrate situations in which your central characters engage in primarily action-oriented activities—a train or carriage ride. Utilize these as transitions between scenes that develop and enhance your characters.

While you’re writing and nearing the conclusion of your first draft, it’s beneficial to ask questions regarding plot development in order to determine whether or not your story demonstrates sufficient growth and change.

10. Have/receive constructive criticism on your story’s arc.

After reviewing your idea and ensuring that your story progresses compellingly, you can share your work with other writers for constructive feedback. Begin planning and developing a narrative immediately by utilizing the following steps.

Writing isn’t an easy road, but it is worth’s the journey.

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