I was chatting recently with the director of the publishing company who I work for about a range of topics and we touched on the subject of what it takes to write a great story, something which I told him I’d tell him about in exchange for some securities about my position!!
I have been writing stories for many years now, along with my buddy Larry Polhill, and it is something that has gone from being a passion, to become something which I among fortunate enough to get paid for. I have even managed to create two charities from this, the SEC which helps give books to kids in the community and the APFC, my very own football team where I am fortunate enough to be president.
All joking aside, it was one of the investors of the publishing company that had asked him about this and he was simply asking for my opinion. The answer is not easy to give but I thought that I’d share with you my opinion on the subject.
The first step to creating a great story is to ensure that you have sat for a long time before putting en to paper and considered what kind of structure your story will have to support it.
The structure is the most important point and you need to ensure that you have locations, characters, events, history and motivation considered long before you begin to write a single word.
I cannot stress just how important the characters are to your story and you should be looking to really develop each one of them throughout your book. The characters are the people who drive the story and it should never be the other way around. Ensure that your characters have many sides to them, who are they? What do they do? Where did they come from? Where are they going and why? These are all question you need to think about when developing a character.
It is important that your story is telling the reader something, this could be a cautionary tale, a story of hope or even one of tragedy, whatever the case is you must ensure that your story has a clear message for your readers and that throughout the story, you make sure that you stay on message and don’t lose sight of what you are trying to do with you story. This is something which you ought to decide upon whilst you are creating the structure of your story.
Whilst you may not be able to change the style in which you write, you can alter the person who is telling the story and you may need to add some colloquial dialogue to make it appear more real. You could tell the story in a narrative, first person or third person and the choice you make should be dictated by the story itself.