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How to Write a Good Story


There’s a story in you somewhere and it’s got to come out. You dream of a career as a published author, but before you get into the business side of things, you’ve got to write a good story. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Read Your Genre
If you want to write dark fiction for children, read Lemony Snicket, for adults, then read Daniel Handler; bonus points if you know that’s the same person. Read the genre you plan to write, and find your author mentor, but don’t mimic. Be sure to give your story your own voice.

Brainstorm and Mind Map
With or without a solid story idea, take a piece of paper or a blank document on your computer and start writing down everything you can think of that may happen in the story. It’s often helpful to do this on paper so you can literally draw lines to connect related plot points, though there are software that allows you to do this on your computer.

The Famous W’s
Who, what, why, when, and where are your friends. Answer these questions to get started. Who are your characters? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? When and where does the story take place?

Conflict Is a Must
There have to be challenges for your characters; a story with no conflict will not hold anyone’s interest. As best author Daniel Handler says, “If you want a plot to be interesting, then terrible things have to be on the horizon.”

Character Growth
Ultimately your protagonist has to be changed in some way. Whatever experience the character goes through, if there is no lesson learned, no progress in that character’s development the story will be unsatisfying.

Some writers like to have all the above sorted out well before they start writing, while some prefer to wing it and work it out along the way. Either way, these points are all important to keep in mind as you write.

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