March 26, 2023
How to write a story

There is an opinion that a writing career should start with small forms: stories, short stories, and essays. This statement is not without meaning since, in minor states of prose works, it is easier to maintain the plot, avoid factual errors and avoid contradictions in the storyline. Many classics wrote their great novels, which glorified them for centuries, based on previously written stories, essays, or novellas. For example, Mikhail Bulgakov’s world-famous and beloved novel The Master and Margarita “Was completely written based on the feuilletons “Moonshine Lake” and “Three Kinds of Swine” previously written and published by the author. That is, the mystical novel grew out of short satirical prose works. And this is far from an isolated case. But one must understand that even small forms require a lot of writing, sometimes even more detailed work than voluminous work.

So how do you write a story? Remember Chekhov’s stories – the shorter the work, the more saturated the language should be, and the idea should be more transparent and consistent. Working on a small form, particularly on a story, requires constant proofreading, deleting the extra, “squeezing the water out.” The story will not be appropriate for the lengthy lyrical digressions young authors are prone to.

To avoid getting confused in your ideas and ideas about how the work should turn out, not rely only on inspiration and divine insight. Which is good in itself, but you can’t build a good text on them, at least at the beginning of the creative path. The author needs a scheme -Hint, a guide on writing a good story. Here are a few points to follow that will help you cut back and remember significant issues.

How to write a story

1 . The first stage at which a story is born, the very need for writing it, is manifested – this is the emergence of an idea.

The idea of ​​a literary work is the original idea that has grown out of the author’s life experience. His worldview or imagination. The source of the concept can be the political life of the country, observations of the animal world, experienced feelings, or a book read and rethought. Not a single famous author started work without a plan. One of the strongest examples of the author’s intention is Balzac’s The Human Comedy. Deciding to reveal to the world the culture and order. The “brilliance and poverty” of French society during the restoration of the monarchy and the reign of the Bourbons. Honore de Balzac developed a complex concept, wrote 137 separate works (with the presence of characters traveling from book to book), and worked on his own “comedy” for 26 years. And he managed to keep his plan to the end.

It is better for a novice author not to take on such complex concepts, to postpone large-scale ideas for a time when his pen is already honed. You can learn how to choose a design comparable to the scale of small forms from Chekhov and Kuprin. There are classic “three whales” of Russian prose: a small person, an extra person, and a new person. Try to describe one day of one of these archetypes of Russian classics, passing through the prism of your perception. It will turn out at least psychologically, learn to hone the characters, and as a maximum, you will reach a big idea you can embody in your future work.

2 . You can get to work when the author has an idea. But “getting to work” does not mean that you can already sit down and write. First, you need to select the material and study what you want to write about.

Ideally, a novice writer should choose a story topic as closely as possible. If you are a doctor, write about doctors and patients; if you are a student, write about school life. This will help avoid factual errors, and writing about what you understand is more interesting about how to write a story. The only danger of this approach is that a novice author may accidentally write an article on a professional topic, not an artistic story. Do not forget that you are writing for the general public, do not delve into details if the intention does not require it, and do not overdo it with professional vocabulary.

If you decide to choose a time, location, or topic that is not typical for you, then you will have to cover yourself with literature (not fiction, but scientific) for some time and, for example, the press of those times you write about. Why is it necessary to take specifically historical and specialized scientific works and journalism and not works of art on the topic? It’s simple. It will help to avoid the temptation to imitate the master of the pen and not blur your view of things.

If it seems that such preliminary preparation is not particularly necessary, then you will have to be surprised – absolutely all the classics – prose writers worked just like that. You can write a famous tabloid novel without resorting to sources, but a good story is not written that way. Most of the writers sat for months over books to figure out the issue, and some even had to go to the place they wanted to write about to catch the mood and evaluate the location personally. Mikhail Prishvin, for example, in his stories about animals, was guided by personal observations, which he diligently wrote down. To give the world one story about birds, he could observe their life for months, photograph, and record.

After the idea is formulated and the materials for its expression are found, assimilated, and comprehended, you can proceed directly to writing a story.

3 . You need to start write a story with a plan. At the same time, the plan means not only the sequence of plot events but also the formulation of the goals of writing, the main idea, descriptions of the main characters, and their development path. Purpose refers to how you would like your work to affect the reader. If entertaining, aim for a rich storyline. If you want to convey some concept or idea, then clearly state how and by what means. First of all, this is necessary for the author himself. If you want to write a story about the philosophy of Tao and have set this goal for yourself, then you will no longer rely on the plot. A well-set goal and a fixed idea will themselves prompt the means of writing. Next, we describe the sequence of events in the story. If there is a desire to break the composition’s linearity and change the plan’s points in places, then it is better to do this after writing a draft version. This will help you not to get confused in the chronotope of your work.

Story plan example

Suppose an idea arises to write a story about the Decembrists exiled to Siberia, but not about the fact itself or their life in Siberia, but about a difficult road through uninhabited territories.

Purpose: to write a social, philosophical story about the stage of the Decembrists in Siberia;

Idea: Decembrists overcome a long way to the place of exile and make plans for the future;


  •  A description of one of the Decembrists and his illness earned in the terrible conditions of the stage in Siberia.
  • A small lyrical digression about the conditions, everyday sketch;
  • The sick Decembrist does not know whether he will get to where he will now have to live. A little reflection;
  • talking with a friend about politics and what’s next;
  • thinking that Siberia, which will be the place of their exile, does not seem like hard labor when he risks not reaching it but rather seems like an oasis in the desert;
  • the moment at which the protagonist supposedly dies in silence, but this is not accurate at all;
  • Behind a thin wooden partition at the time of their supposed death, two Decembrists say that nature in Russia is harsh to be a good decoration for a difficult life.

As a result of writing a plan, you need to get a similar, almost cinematic, storyboard.

What else should be?

  • locations (if we take the above example, these are the settlements of the stage located along the Siberian Highway, rest points on the stages);
  • names – in an artistic and not a concrete historical story, it is better not to take the names of real personalities. But to come up with (if we take the same example, then according to the acting characters, call them any noble name-surname that does not cause associations. But in the story, mention real historical persons – this will add credibility) or use our character name generator.

How to write a story?

The story’s writing itself is not as filled with nuances as the preparation, there is already a territory of creativity, but these nuances still exist.

Firstly, if you have undertaken to write a story, write it daily. Pick a time to write when you can devote at least 3-4 hours daily to writing. But, especially at the beginning, you should not write for days. Good thoughts leave a tired head, so do your studies, work, do household chores, or take a walk, but keep a notebook or laptop ready to write down an unexpected and exciting move – while you are doing other things, the brain does not stop working on the work. Sort the thoughts that have arisen during the day. Not all of them will necessarily suit your story.

Secondly, try not to use corny, boring moves for everyone in terms of plot and language. The most famous plot stamp is, perhaps, the rain that pours when the main character is sad. Perhaps such a move was interesting when it was first used, and it is already an example of bad taste. Speech stamps also work. Once what was said was good and beautiful. Still, it repeats thousands of times, and the charm of the verbal image collapses, leaving only a misunderstanding as to why the main character’s chin is necessarily “strong-willed,” whether tears are exclusively “stingy,” and whether this can somehow avoid.

Proofreading and editing

When the story is ready, you need to postpone it for 5-10 days and forget about it. Try not to think as much as possible. You can write something else. When some time passes, the story will have to be read a lot of times. And be prepared for the fact that no matter how perfect it seems to you, after some time, flaws in style and plot will appear in it, as if by themselves. Correct stamps for original designs, cut out entire pieces of text – less is better than too much.

And, of course, be kind to yourself. The first works of even the most brilliant writers are not intelligent. The main thing is the work done, and it will be easier to write the second work.

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