How To Write Better Stories

Honestly, I believe anybody can write. It just takes a moment of honesty and some thoughts and feelings you closely understand. But, writing ain’t that easy and you can always develop the skill.
I usually write stories and poems. Most of you all who have been reading my blog frequently already know about it. Writing a story is a fun process! It makes you a part of a life you’ve created, and I think as a writer that’s when you feel the most powerful.

I don’t write listicles that often but I just thought of sharing my views and ideas on crafting a good story. Trust me, if you know all the right ingredients, you will create magic!

1. Imagine A New World

Before getting directly onto the paper, give yourself some time to travel into a different world. This won’t happen in a moment. It will take time. Shut your eyes (if you tend to get distracted) and just build a setting. Everything starts from here. You might see a person, a place, a car, or whatever. Hold on to it and see where it leads. If you’re good with dialogues, you’ll already hear some talking. I know it does sound creepy but you have to wait for your characters to get real.

2. Develop The Setting

I focus a lot on the setting in my stories. I believe it gives the reader a good glimpse of what you’ve imagined. It’s like building your own house, setting up the decor, the walls, time and so on. Once you’ve decided about where you want your story to begin, it becomes easier. Then, just keep describing what you see. Write about the place, where your characters are sitting, what are they doing, what time of the day it is. This gives your story a real feel. And I can bet on this, people do love travelling to different places and feel like a part of it by reading a story. Once you’ve developed the setting, you can go ahead.

3. Know Your Characters Like Your Old Friends

This is kind of my favorite part about writing a story. The people. Here’s when you can experiment the most with your story. I mean, what can be more exciting than feeling like God? Give your characters a name, describe how they look, what they like, their weird habits, etc. But, you’ve to be careful with this part. Don’t just describe them in a go. Divide their characteristics into bits and pieces at different parts of your story. Keep talking to your reader. Imagine you’re telling them about someone they haven’t met. This is also when can give depth to your story. Your characters are the ultimate soul of your tale. If you don’t define a character well, your readers fail to connect to your story.

4. Talk Like You Are One Of Them

Setting up a dialogue is when the real challenge arrives. What to talk about? Don’t worry. Your characters are your babies. For starters, don’t think about where a dialogue will lead. Just set up a dialogue. It could be anything. Just remember to keep it in line with how your characters are shaped. Imagine if you are them. Would you say something like this at this part of the story? Ask yourself. Talk. That’s how a story begins. A dialogue is often the first lead of your story which decides how the narration goes ahead.

5. Keep It Real And Simple

What most writers fail to do is to keep a story simple. Do not complicate your story by adding words that an average reader won’t understand. Write like you talk. Keep your sentences short. Story-telling is an art which needs the writer and the reader to form an active relationship. The more you complicate your story, the more your reader will drift away. Depending on the plot of your story, try to make it as real as possible. If you’re writing a fantasy or sci-fi, focus on your characters. Rationalise their behaviour and thought processes (Unless of course, you don’t want to). Readers look for reality. The more real your story sounds, the more relatable it becomes.

6. Focus On Your Plot

Be very clear about how you want your story to end. Keep checkpoints. And no matter what try to meet them. This is so that you don’t end up writing a story that becomes unfamiliar to you. Rationalise your story in a way that it keeps meeting these checkpoints no matter how the story unfolds. If you already know how your story is going to an end, you’re sorted. A lot of times, when I write a story, I don’t know how to end it. That’s when these checkpoints come handy.

7. Soak Your Story In Emotions

The human touch. Your story needs to have some emotion! Focus a lot on the emotions between your characters. Love, hatred, anger, jealousy, or whatever. Your emotion is the colour of your story and it should reflect at every point of your writing. If you are writing a love story, make sure you are sending the message you want to through the emotions and feelings of your characters. A story that lacks emotions lacks it all!

8. Take Your Time 

Most importantly, don’t rush your stories to an end. Take your time, live your characters for days. Think about all the possibilities your story offers and develop a good story. If you cannot write any further after a point of time, don’t write. Wait for your character to drop hints and then get back to where you left. A good end could occur to you at any time, and I bet it’s very exciting!

9. Give Meaning To Your End

Don’t just end a story because you want to write your next. Your story could be beautifully crafted but your end decides your final product. Make sure your end ticks all your checkpoints. In the end, your story should leave a deep influence on your reader and make him/her a part of your own world. If you’re writing a suspense or horror, your end is the most important part of your story. But, that doesn’t mean a love story shouldn’t have a good ending. No matter what genre it is, your end should leave your reader satisfied.

10. Embrace Who You Are

The last and the most important thing about writing your story. Don’t lose you tone. Your story should secretly reflect who you are. Do not try to copy someone else’s style. Inspirations are good, no doubt but don’t fail to embrace your own style. Before anything else, it is your own story. Don’t ever forget that!

Hope these points help you to write your next story! But, don’t bother about necessarily sticking to these rules. In the end, writers are their own creators. You can always go ahead and experiment with your tale. To end it, I’ll like to quote Philip Pullman – “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Take care!

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He was busy spending his mandatory time in the verandah painting some of his imagination. He would paint every day sitting on his grandfather’s chair. He loved using shades of the colour blue. No wonder he loved the sky and would spend hours looking at it.

 Some of his paintings spoke so much about him. His paintings usually had scenarios with few people in them. People he had made completely in his own mind. Nanny would pay a visit once in a while and they would talk about those people. She would tell him how his grandfather had a keen interest in art and if we would have been alive, he would be very proud. Some of his paintings were incomplete and he never bothered to complete them. Nanny would force him to finish them soon. But, he would always find a way out and let them be the way they’re.

“I’m waiting for them to develop themselves. People want their time. I’m giving them exactly that.” Phil said once.

Nanny would then retire her arguments and move to the kitchen. Some nights, he wouldn’t sleep, and these nights he would end up creating his best work. In the morning, the verandah would seem entirely different. Like it’s his own world and he is the one who made it alive.

He never met his grandfather. Never saw him. He had no idea how he looked like.

After seeing the canvas next morning, Nanny kissed his head and said, “This is so far your best.”

“You say this for all of them.”

Nanny laughed. It was a painting of a man sitting in a similar verandah. His face wasn’t seen. But, he was looking at the sky. The sky looked more beautiful than it was.

“This reminds me of your grandfather. Like, he is suddenly alive through this painting.”

Phil looked up at Nanny and smiled. “Tell me what else reminds you of him?”

“You. You are so much like him. When I see you, your eyes, that are so fascinated upon seeing some of his work, it reminds me of him. Mornings, particularly. Your nana wouldn’t come out of a room for two three days until he finished his work. When he would finish, he would come to our room early morning, excited, and take me hurriedly to the art room. I would be sleepy and grumpy and mad at him. But, it would last until I see his work. His work was magnificent. We would share his views over the world and his work over a cup of coffee and sugar donuts. His passion was fire and it would keep us warm.” Nanny smiled. “When I look at you spending nights here, it reminds me of him. I’ll get you something to eat.” she walked into the kitchen.

Phil was looking at his incomplete paintings.  Then, he smiled.

The entire day they spoke about his grandfather and Phil was too fascinated, overwhelmed.

That night, Phil decided to finish all the paintings that were left incomplete. The entire night he absorbed himself in a world that suddenly seemed more familiar.

Next morning, he ran to Nanny’s room and woke her up deliberately just like his grandfather. “They are complete now honey. Come, I’ll make you meet them.”

Nanny laughed.”Oh, Phil!”

When Nanny saw the paintings, she didn’t know what to say. She just looked at Phil and started to cry.

“What’s wrong, Nanny?”

She pointed out to the man he painted in two of his paintings.

“This is exactly how your nana looked, Philip.”

His grandfather’s eyes were beautiful and blue.