How to Write a Good Story

Writing is not an easy task. It is even more difficult to get a good story put down. It takes time, practice, and learning to build that writing muscle, as Rome wasn't built in a day!

To get yourself started, make sure to follow these steps:

Write everything as quickly as possible

Make sure that you write the first draft of your story in as short a time as you possibly can. If you’re writing short stories, try to get the whole draft done in a single sitting. If the story is longer (maybe a novel, for instance), then get it done in a single season (about 3 to 4 months).

Don’t worry excessively about outlining or drawing a plot beforehand. You can get that done once you know that you have a story to tell.

The first draft of your story is a bit of a discovery process. It's like you’re an archaeologist digging something out of the Earth - you might have a few clues about where your desired item is, but you don’t have to know what it really is before it finally gets unearthed.

With that said, get to digging!

Build the protagonist

The protagonist is who the story is majorly about, and there is hardly a way you can get a good story if you don’t have a good protagonist.

When it comes to protagonists, remember that the most essential ingredient is the character's situation. Your protagonist must have made a decision to get himself or herself into a situation that causes the story in the first place. At the same time, the protagonist must also come to a “crisis” point where he or she decides that it’s time to get out of the situation.

Also, in order to develop your protagonist further, make sure to use other character types like the antagonist (the villain, AKA opposite of the protagonist), or the fool (essentially, a “sidekick” figure that tends to bring out the softer side off the protagonist).

Develop the suspense

Make sure to develop the suspense of the story. To help with the suspense, you can set up a dramatic question, like “Will she eventually make it out of this?” or “Can he still find love again?”

By putting the fate (or survival) of your protagonist in doubt, you build the suspense and keep the reader wanting more.

Also, note that in order to do this effectively, you will need to properly restrict the amount of information that the reader gets. The biggest killer of drama is oversharing.

Show!

Over the years, the saying “show, don’t tell” has kind of been overused. However, when put right beside the step above, it can actually help you a whole lot.

When something happens in the story that serves to alter the fate of the character, don’t tell the readers about it. Rather, show the scene. It is good for your readers to see the best parts of you story play out before them. Try to show the most interesting aspects of your story, then tell the rest.

The dialogue must be good

There are two things that can stimulate good dialogue: a lot of rewriting, and an intimate knowledge of the characters in question.

Every character must not have a generic voice. And to ensure that they all sound different, read the dialogue of each of them and ask yourself, “Does this really sound like this person?” If your answer is no, then you’ve got to start rewriting.

Edit the way pros do!

Most professional writers make a habit of writing at least three drafts. The first draft is known as the “vomit draft” or the “sh--ty first draft”. This draft shouldn't be shared publicly. The purpose of the first draft is to explore your story and to figure out what it really is about.

The second draft is still not the one for polishing, although a lot of people tend to do so as soon as they can clean up the act of their vomit draft. Instead, this draft is to make major structural changes and to clarify both the characters and the plot of your novel.

The third draft is where the deep polishing happens. This is where everything comes to order and begins to gel. It’s the “fun” part.

However, until you get your first two drafts done, you’ll be wasting your time with polishing anything.

Avoid writer’s block

The best way to defeat writer’s block is to just write. If you ever feel stuck, don’t try to write a perfect piece. Don’t focus on writing well.

Just write.

Sometimes, to write that masterpiece, you just need to take the pressure off and let your pen (or keyboard, whatever the case may be) do the talking.

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Don’t keep your work to yourself

When you know that someone will be reading what you wrote, you tend to write even better cause you put that pressure on yourself. If you write in the dark, there’s no one to know if you aren’t giving everything to your writing or if you’re doing a lazy job. However, when you share your writing, you fare better since you know that there is a possibility the work is not as good as you thought. This sense will help you to write the best possible story that you can.

One of the best ways to write something and share it is by entering into a writing contest. The theme of the contest will serve to inspire a new creation, the deadlines will build your sills of accountability, and the prizes involved will help you to submit your work (and who knows? Maybe you could even win). We plan to push out writing contests on our platform as well so you can check out how your writing skills compare to others!

Another way is submitting your work on Visva! At Visva, we encourage people to share their stories, express yourself fearlessly, and get heard.

Understand the rules, then smash them

This step was put last, and for good reason.

A good writer knows the basic rules to a decent writing piece and adheres to them. To be great, however, you need to know the rules and break them.

The only catch here is that you don’t just break the rules in an arbitrary manner. Only break the rules when your story needs to get its own set of rules. Respect the rules that have been laid down, but understand that you don’t serve them, as you only need to pledge allegiance to your story!