Writing Effective Stories

Tips for effective writing

1. Show, don’t tell
2. Get straight into the story – something has to happen to get the reader hooked
3. Keep the reader guessing (don’t give away too much too soon. Make the reader work - you don’t have to explain everything.)
4. Take the characters on a journey (this can be a physical or psychological journey)
5. Start small & go for detail (look at a critical point in someone’s life & focus on a particular moment
6. Learn to look & use objects around you for inspiration
7. Use the senses to bring your descriptions alive
8. Try to use suggestions and gestures to give a sense of character in the story
9. Work on your dialogue by listening to others
10. Research thoroughly – avoid making factual errors when describing an object or place or activity (if real)
11. Try to use original images
12. Consider the drama and move from scene to scene. You don’t need all the details about what happened in between. 'Drama is life with the boring bits cut out.' (Try using flash back & flash forward in time)
13. Use a mix of short and long sentences to vary the pace
14. Make sure the story is carefully observed and quickly told
15. Sometimes it’s not what you put in but what you leave out that makes a story powerful!
16. Leave the reader thinking or perhaps use a surprise twist
17. Beginnings & endings should have powerful impact – a satisfying ending often revisits the start
18. Edit, edit, edit