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The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling

I have recently been asked about my storywriting skills which has got me thinking. What makes a good story?

Ask any school age child and they will tell you that you need 3 key ingredients, a beginning, a middle and an end. Easy.

But let’s break it down a bit…

A beginning does not necessarily start at the beginning. Maybe it should start at the end. Or right in the middle. Wherever it starts it must be compelling, throw you straight into action, force the reader to ask questions and read on to the end. Although this sounds daunting, I actually find the beginning the EASIEST part to write. At the start of a project creative juices are flying everywhere, enthusiasm is rife and you’re hitting the keyboard faster than your fingers can handle (hello gobbledegook).

Then there is the ending. Some people have this decided from the very start, I tend to allow it to flow to me as my story develops as I love a surprise and hate feeling tied down. An ending must tie up loose ends, make the reader say “no way!” and ideally you want them to search out your next book. This part is tricky but if you know your characters better than you know your best friend and their story is your obsession the ending will flow. If you’re struggling then have a rest, the more you force it, the more you push it away. Trust that it will come to you and I promise it will.

The middle: my nemesis. The middle is the journey that takes the reader from A to Z, but like with any complex journey it takes a lot of planning, a lot of getting lost and the resolve to never give up. Sometimes your journey will take long than expected and you may take all sorts of diversions but that’s what makes it more memorable and fun! Do not be afraid to stop and refuel and it is always advisable to take directions when you’re feeling a little lost, you do not have to follow the instructions, but it may reignite your engines.

There is much more to story writing that just a beginning, middle and end. There is tremendous skill involved, it is an art. Fundamentally it is dedication. Apply determination and persistence and you can write the best story ever to be told, just have faith.

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