Writing essays are never fun, especially when it is for something school or work related. But writing doesn’t have to be hard work or boring. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to write a book? Not the long, novel type, but short stories involving believable characters and realistic dialogue – all the things creative writing should be. If you’ve ever written a short story and the idea of entering a writing competition interests you, the below writing tips will help you grow in confidence, improve your writing and win the next Booker Prize (maybe)!
Start writing a story that you love and think works. Include lots of characters, dialogue and plot twists, and make sure your genre is clear and the theme flows smoothly throughout. Follow the below four steps, but make sure that each step is just three sentences long:
1) Write a first paragraph in which the main character is going somewhere
2) Write a second paragraph in which the main character overhears something that grabs their interest or seems important
3) Write a third paragraph in which the main character reacts to, thinks about, or reflects upon what he/she has heard
4) Write a fourth paragraph in which the main character has a change of direction or plan
Using this very short, basic outline of a short story, see if it is something that can be developed. Description is key when writing and one of the building blocks of a story. If you want the reader to get lost in your world and leave them wanting more by the end, then you need to make the world you create and everything in it seem very real. A few helpful tips to remember when it comes to description include:
1) Do not overuse adjectives and adverbs
2) If you’re feeling stuck, start describing an imaginative character like a monster under the bed
3) Move onto something more ‘real’ like the sky outside your window at this present time. Come back in a couple of hours and describe the difference
4) Explore different ways to describe things, by using similies and metaphors instead of adjectives – try it with your favourite outfit
The ending to your short story needs to include a change. Change can mean many different things and something internal – maybe a change of heart, or a change of plan, maybe even a change in something that your main character believes. When writing the book, you will find the factors that get the story going and it is these that need to be addressed and all tied up at the end. Your readers will be looking for a cliffhanger, a conclusion, or even the more traditional method of a happy ending. Whichever one you decide, don’t forget to include the big change!
For more information, read: 365 Ways To Get You Writing Daily Inspiration and Advice For Creative Writers (£10.99, Robinson) by Jane Cooper