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How to Create a Compelling Story: 5 Tips

Open Book

Whether you major in English or a technical student, the ability to create an engaging story is appreciated in any field. Here you will learn how to do it without having to rewrite multiple times delete long passages just because something does not click.

Tip #1: Have a Good Set-up

Your set-up may take 25 % of your novel, but it is worth it. How many times have you watched a movie where bad things happen to main characters, but you did not care? This most likely was a result of a bad set-up. It is a relevant piece of advice for all fiction as well.

If you do not give the reader a reason to care, no matter how elaborated and exquisite the story gets afterwards – it will not be well-received. Think about how your character is going to develop. What actions they will take and what the results will be. Do not just let things happen.

Tip # 2: Outline in Advance

Many authors think of an outline as a prison cell. However, this is far from truth. An outline is like a guiding star which will help you reach your final destination and not get lost in the entanglements of the fictional world.

An outline must have a solid premise, scenes ideas and, of course, the outcome. It does not mean, however, that you cannot change your story if you have a creative outburst. An outline is there for you to make your story literary – with all the foreshadowing and other good perks of knowing the finale.

Tip # 3: Think of Plot Holes

When you conjure up scenes, make sure they connect and transition well between one another. There is nothing worse than a meaningless scene which does not contribute to the development of the story. If you feel like something does not add up – contemplate.

Plot holes will not cover themselves. You need to fix them on your own – and as soon as possible. The more you write, the harder it is to amend the story. Later you may even forget the problem existed at all. And then when you get smashed by the critics, you will have nothing but surprise.

Tip # 4: Be Unexpected

Whatever you are writing, you have to avoid being predictable and formulaic. With every little twist in your story, ask yourself if you think the reader would see it coming. If the answer is yes – think of the alternative outcomes. Why do you think Game of Thrones is such a good series of books?

However, there is a little disclaimer here. All the plot twists in your story need to be believable. If you just throw in random events, you will only turn off the reader. Things have to stay logical – but yet unforeseeable.

Tip # 5: Experiment with Settings

Many authors, especially the beginning ones, are too afraid to describe something they have not seen with their own eyes. They would stick to familiar settings from their childhood, travels or current life. This is, however, a mistake.

Settings need to send a message – just like words do. If you create a story, you have to understand what feelings and ideas your chosen setting provokes. If you are not confident about accuracy – there is the Internet for you. Do not be afraid to make a mistake. As long as you try hard, you are bound to do well. 

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