HOW TO PLAN A STORY
There can be many ways to develop a story. The most important thing is that it is developed logically and systematically. (Always remembering that rules are merely guidelines and sometimes breaking them can make a story more exciting to read).
The following is a typical way of developing a dramatic story.
· The first step is to develop a premise (i.e. A concise statement of what happens in a story).
· The next step might be to develop the main characters (i.e. Contrive a profile that describes who each of the main characters is).
· The third step may be to develop the principal events (beats, plot points or turning points). Consider these dramatic events, what their causes and effects are, what leads up to them and what happens as a result.
· Next develop the sequence of main events. Sometimes it helps to jot each event down on a palm card and shuffle them around, playing with the order of events to see what effect this has on the reading of the story. Is your story circular? Do you start at the end and then flash back to the beginning? Or is it linear? Is it told in small moments from different perspectives.
· Finally fill in minor events, and details.
Planning Your Story
Why do we need to plan a story? Many writers find that they start off with a great story, write it and then find it doesn’t work properly. This is often because they haven’t planned exactly what happens (the sequence of events) and which characters are involved in enacting them. Planning helps eliminate errors in the construction of a story. It also saves you time which could be wasted correcting these errors. But planning isn’t for every writer - some writers enjoy writing intuitively. You are the only one who can decide what works for you.
When planning, you need to have a good understanding of your goals.
· What are you trying to accomplish with your story?
· How am I going to make the story funny/serious/sad/exciting/thrilling?
· What is my premise? Am I trying to prove or disprove a theory?
Developing your Voice
The voice of the story is the author's voice. All authors have a voice. You should not try too hard to develop one as this may come across as artificial and unnatural. It can be very hard for an author to eliminate their voice from a story. For example, if you have a humorous way of writing, if everything is a joke, or a pun, even in the most difficult situations, it can be hard to eliminate that voice from your story but then again you don’t necessarily want to either. Sometimes your unique style of writing is what makes your work stand out from the crowd.
Writing in your true voice is the easiest way of writing. As you grow and develop as a writer, you train your voice and develop it, but initially, use the voice you have.
Many authors in fact use more than one voice. Some authors will use more than one pen name. They will write in one voice for one pen name, and another voice for another pen name. This can be hard. But as an author develops so their different voices may develop. Readers may feel that they know us because they have read our voice. We may use a lot of our own character in our stories and our voices but that does not mean that the things we write about are actually us. It does not mean that we will do the things in the story. It is just that we are able to use our imagination, and our voice, to tell a story.
If you simply relax, write as clearly and simply as you can, your words will begin to flow. As the words flow, your voice will begin to emerge. It is important that you do not try to force your voice. As we said earlier, you should sound natural. If you try to write in a clever way or a stylish way, that does not fit with your voice, it will not work. Your voice is original, it has its own special quality, use it, hone it and develop it to write your stories your way.
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