Writing an "Interesting" Story

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What's this? Another update? In less than a day?

Well, actually, I originally wrote this article for the very talented avadel, who also has an advice book! It is called "Writing Tips & Wattpad Tricks", and I highly recommend checking it out. Similar to this, it's full of advice inspired by requests and submissions. However, unlike this one, they accept submissions from people who would like to share advice. Honestly, it is a lot better than hearing me talk to you for 101 chapters. Instead, it involves a range of opinions from all sorts of people from all over the world.

Anyways, the topic I chose to talk about was how to write an interesting story. And, since it was very quickly approaching lunch time, I ended up comparing story-writing to pie.

I mean, come on. Interest. When calculating simple interest of a bank loan, I'm pretty sure you use pi.

Okay, just checked. You don't use pi for that equation.

And this, fellas, is why I study psychology instead of maths.

Before I launch into this topic, I should mention: I am not an expert when it comes to writing. Sure, I can string together words, but am I a wordsmith? No.

So why should you even bother reading this?

Because I'm a reader. You're probably a reader, too. And we can all agree that there are certain books that have kept us hooked, and some books that have... well, sometimes, we question why the author thought it would be a good idea to spend four paragraphs describing those specific red streaks in their protagonist's hair.

Besides, I've been reviewing with the TreasureCommunity for a long, long time. I wrote ninety-five reviews last year, and twenty-five this year (so far!). And while my reviewing is far from perfect, I have noticed patterns in what sparks my interest and what doesn't.

So, let's launch into the actual content of this chapter: what makes a story interesting? Here is the recipe:

1.       PREHEAT THE OVEN. (Translation: Know Your Conflict, Know Your Steaks—I mean, Stakes)

Before you even begin writing, you should have, at the very least, a vague sense of what your story is going to be. You should know what genre you're in, and what world it will be in. Then, you need to ask yourself the big questions:

-          What will be the conflict of this story? What will bring the juicy, delicious tension?

-          What will be the climax of the story? What are the stakes? What could go wrong?

These are fundamentals to every story. If you don't know where your story is going, and most chapters are just the characters talking aimlessly about how much they hate maths while you work it out, it shows.

You need to make sure that, within the first few chapters, there is a form of tension. Something that needs to be resolved. Something that will make the reader ask questions until the very, very end.

2.       USE THE CORRECT UTENSILS. (Translation: Grammar and Punctuation)

I'm not saying that you need to have perfect grammar and punctuation to have an interesting story.

However, your writing should be polished enough that any reader can understand what is going on. The tenses should be consistent, dialogue should be formatted neatly, and avoid run-on sentences. Make sure you have an understanding of when to use capital letters and full-stops.

No, you don't have to know exactly how a semicolon works to write an interesting story. But it is incredibly difficult to engage with stories where I don't know who is speaking.

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