By Ginny Wiehardt
Source: The Balance Careers
Anyone who says writing can’t be taught is speaking nonsense: inspiration can’t be taught, but writing certainly can. It’s a skill, no different from, say, cooking. Some people have a greater appreciation for food, a natural sense of how different tastes work together. But they’re not the only ones capable of whipping up a tasty meal. It’s exactly the same as wanting to write. Almost anyone can learn how to put words on the page in a clear, intelligent manner — they can even do so in a way that tells a story. If your goal is to write a story or to learn to write better, these tips will help.
Freewriting is one of the easiest ways to dive into writing, and it’s a technique even experienced writers use when they’re blocked. (Many people feel comfortable writing without much structure, but if you’re not one of those people, then start with a writing exercise or prompt.) The best part about freewriting is that there is no wrong answer: anything you get down is A-OK.
If you’re feeling hesitant about how to structure your story, or you have pages of prose you’d like to shape into fiction, start by reviewing these basic rules. Don’t be put off if writing a story doesn’t seem simple. With a short story, a lot has to happen in relatively few pages. Some people are better at longer forms, but it’s helpful in thinking about plot to start small.
Now that you have an overview of the short story, drill down into each of the elements, starting with the plot. The plot is what separates a freewriting exercise from a short story. No matter how great your characters or your setting, a story won’t be successful if the plot isn’t sound.
That said, at least one character should be well-developed. Someone in the story must take action, and that action will only be believable if the character seems real to the reader. This exercise will help you develop the characters in your story.
Some people believe that setting is the most important element of a story, that it drives everything else. If you’re just starting to write, this may be a bit abstract, but take it as a fact: the setting counts. Work on your setting here.