Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Writing Is A Skill

The woman quoted above advises writers to tell a story rather than just stringing words together. Sadly, that is exactly what some writers do when they think they are writing a story.

Keep in mind that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Three parts that pull together to make a whole. More than once, I've mentioned a book for writers that is invaluable in showing how to do this. Look at your local library or order online or find it in a bookstore, but do take time to read Nancy Kress's book Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. Her instructions in this book work well for both short stories and novels. I'd also add for stories written in the creative nonfiction field.

A story needs a problem to be solved. If everything is just hunky-dory day after day, there is no incentive to the reader to keep reading. The problem size can vary from something pretty small to gargantuan.

Another thing a story needs is one or more characters who the reader can like or relate to. I once read a novel that had numerous characters and not one of them was likeable. The whole thing turned me off in a hurry. I did finish the book because I wanted to see if any of them would shape up into nicer people, but they didn't! Not every character should be likeable. We have to have someone to hiss at, don't we? But give me at least one I can like.

What I've mentioned here are only the basics of writing a story. There are so many more details that must be considered when crafting a tale. Google 'how to write a story' and you'll come up with dozens of articles to read. Writing is a skill that can be learned and must be fed with new learning all the time.

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