Things you need to write a story

When it is time to write a story it can feel very intimidating to sit down with a pen and paper or stare a blank screen. Suddenly you feel as though you have absolutely nothing to say – your mind goes completely blank, you can’t remember anything you’d planned to say, and suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to get up and walk the dog/vacuum the living room/clean the bathroom!Things you need to write a storyWrite a story – the easy way!

Here are some ways to help you gather ideas before you start to write a story, and so the blank screen or page no longer have any power over you!

  • First of all you need to know who you are writing the story about. How old are they, what do they look like, what is troubling them, or making them excited? Make a note of your answers, even just bullet points since the story is probably about you, so when you start to write you can set the scene.
  • Next you need to decide where you will set the scene as you write the story. Where is the character? What are the surroundings like? Are they safe or in danger? What should the reader know about this environment?
  • Lastly, think about the arc of the story. You know where the character is at the beginning, can bullet point the ‘crisis’ point in the middle of story that you character has to cope with, and then how they get to the end. These dots along the way will make it much easier to remind yourself of what you were doing than just launching in and trying to work out how to get to the main point of the story.

These ideas may sound very simple, but even a simple outline will help calm your fears and help you get writing. (Though your dog and home may not thank you!)

To help you get going in smaller chunks, you can also do as I did. start a blog. It is free, and you can choose whether to make your posts public or private as you write. Each day plan to sit down and write for a short time – aim for 15-20 minutes. Set a timer for this time, then sit down and write a story. Don’t read back over what you have written, or in any way edit it. Just write. When the timer goes off, you can decide whether to keep going a little longer, but when you’re done, just save your post and log out. The next day you can edit what you wrote, tidy up grammar and spelling, then save, and move on to the next blog post. When you get up you can go and fact check any details you couldn’t recall, and write them down in readiness for the next day.

In time you will have either a series of chapters for your story or a series of short stories written. You can copy and paste them into a Word or text file, then arrange them in whatever way you wish! By tricking yourself into only thinking about writing a tiny piece of your story, you are much more likely to show up and write each day. In time you will have a lengthy piece of text to use in whichever way you want.

And that is how to write a story of your life in easily managed chunks!

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Creative ways to tell your story

It can be hard to know how to start to tell your story. It used to be that authors wrote or typed their story onto paper, edited it, and kept doing so until the process was complete… or abandoned.

Nowadays we have so many more options with the rise of computer apps and sites to choose from. For the left-brained amongst us, a spreadsheet will quickly get the essential points outlined, and sub points inserted to create an outline. For those of us who are more right-brained, such a task can be difficult. While mind-mapping software makes it much easier for those of use who have a hard time thinking linearly, I have been looking into alternative, and more creative, ways that stories can be created that don’t make us weep.

Online ways to tell your story

For those of us who are more visual, an online site called Mapia is very appealing. It is a site designed for those with travel stories to tell. The site is free to join, and encourages you to upload photos and maps of your adventure. Your story can then be written using the photos and maps to help you organize your thoughts and plan out your story from what you have uploaded. The finished results are beautiful!

If you prefer not to write at all, then record yourself telling your story on video using your (or someone else’s!) smartphone. Use Facebook live to record your story live to Facebook. Once it is complete, you can download the file, upload to YouTube, and have it transcribe your speech. (Full instructions for how to do this are here: https://www.labnol.org/internet/transcribe-video-to-text/28914/) I’ve heard that the results can either be very accurate, or very bad, depending on how well it understands your speech. Either way you will end with a page of text that you can edit s much or as little as you wish, to get it the way you want it.

Apps are another way to tell your story, but in a more creative way. Everyday more apps appear, but here are a few iPhone apps to try. You can read about some innovative and creative ways to tell your story here.

Old school ways to tell your story

tell your story If these methods are too far beyond you comfort zone for ways to tell your story, perhaps you need another route into your story? This site offers some different ways to consider the story you want to tell. It suggests ideas from a micro story – 140 characters on Twitter and up – to telling the story in reverse. If dialogue is more your thing, tell the story only through the speech of those involved. Where the speakers are and what is around them may be unimportant, or can be brought in through the conversation. Often it only takes a little twist – and a perceived breaking of the old rules – to make the way you tell your story much more fun!

 

 

 

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