7 Compelling Steps to Good Story-telling


A simple search on Google will give you a glimpse of the many thousands of books and blog posts that there are on writing. And on this blog, in earlier posts, we have dismantled some writing advice and seen what works and what doesn’t. Here are some tips based on what is given in detail in the e-course How to Write Stories That Work - and Get Them Published! and from experience.

1. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible and without stopping during any single writing session.

This is obviously easier with a short story, or a screenplay - with a longer work, condensing time may be difficult.

How long does it realistically take? Stephen King’s advice for novel writers is to write the first draft in a single season, or three months. A 100,000 word novel makes that just over 1,100 words a day, every day. The average short story is 4,000 words, or about four hours. Screenplays can be written in three days at 30 pages a day. The first draft is buying the groceries; editing and re-writing is the cooking of the meal.

2. Concentrate on the protagonist.

Victor Frankl said, ‘A human being is a deciding being’ and it’s been said that a protagonist must ‘make a decision to get into whatever situation the story is about’ - but it’s actually even simpler than that. The most crucial thing you can do in working on a protagonist is to realise that you are building a construct, not a person.

And your protagonist is a very special construct, with very special features. More on that in the course How to Write Stories That Work - and Get Them Published!