Back To Basics, A Writing 101 Series: What Does A Story Need?
It’s been a long time since I have written a 101 post so I decided to bring the series back and post a part of the series every other week. This week I’ll be focusing on what a story needs and why!
In my last Writing 101 post, I wrote about what creative writing is. In the post, I’ll be talking about what a story in creative writing needs. Stories are all different, but in every single one you will find things that are needed in order to craft and tell a story.
A story needs an idea and it doesn’t always have to be original. The idea only needs to be there and it needs to be something you want to write. If it’s something you would want to write later and not now, do not write it now. You will have no passion for it and it will often stress you out because you feel you have to write it(been there, done that!). I cannot tell you how to think of an idea. This sounds so cliche, but it will come to you. It might be found at 2am or maybe deep in a pinterest board, but it will come to you and hopefully you will want to write it.
Once you find that idea, you need to flesh it out and with fleshing, comes a story. When you flesh out an idea, you’ll soon have a plot, a cast of characters, and the faint shadow of a world. Fleshing out is pretty easy. All you have to do is take the idea and run with it. A good tip I have for this is asking why! Why does the character do this? Why does the world act this way? Keep asking why until you can’t! This is great for fleshing out characters and figuring out their backstories. This can also help with bringing new ideas to the story as well as getting the foundations of the story laid down.
So you have your idea and you fleshed it out a bit. Now what? You need to get a bit deeper. Yes, deeper than what you already have. You need to add a bit more substance to your characters, plot, and world.
Characters are like humans, they’re complex. A person could be innocent, but lie about the littlest things. Another could be cruel and abusive, but sweet to animals. Humans are complex and different and so are characters. Creating characters is tricky. You have to figure out how you want to do that. Some may work well with character sheets and others may like to do scenes. I prefer to do it with a step process. First, I come up with the character and write down what I want them to be. I give them a list of traits and skills. This list is basic and I will delve deeper into these traits with my sheet. I will take a small character sheet. There’s not much on it because I get overwhelmed. I find large character sheets to be a bit too much and stating facts more than the character. I use the basic sheet and add/subtract questions, then go in a bit more with paragraphs. This has worked for me and I feel that my characters are better made this way. This, of course, is only a suggestion and finding the best way to create characters for you is key!
I would like to note that characters will change. Their true personality may come through writing the story or maybe when you left expected it, but they will change. Many times my characters have gone from a sweet and innocent person to a horrible anti-hero. It may not be a complete change, but characters will evolve.
You’ve got characters, but now it’s time to make them work. Without a plot, a character is a person floating through your mind and a story is nothing. Plot can push the character and character can push the plot, but you’ll need them both first. There’s many many ways to plot. Some will say one method is better than the other, but that is not true. One may be more common, but not better. Like with characters, finding your way to plot is a must. The only advice I can give on plotting right now is to write it down. Write down the plot and see where it takes you. From there, you can figure out how you want plot or if writing down the plot is just enough for you!
Plot? Check! Characters? Check! What else do we need? A world. For some stories, a world isn’t needed, but you may need to research our world. A world needs a culture, it needs a place, and it needs a time. To explain what a world needs would make this post longer than what it already is so a post on that will be coming soon. To get started with world building, write down what you want from the world you are creating or things you need to research. String those bits together and keep working until you feel the world is complete(or when my world building post comes out 😉
I hope you guys enjoyed this! Comment down below somethings you want to see in this series and follow my blog! While you’re at it, my social media is ready to follow too!
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