If you are a student or a professional, chances are, you have read a narrative book. You might have enjoyed watching Game of Thrones and decided to read the book. Perhaps you’ve watched all the episodes of BBC’s Sherlock and wanted to read more about the adventures of the eccentric detective. Whatever reason you had for reading a narrative book, one thing is certain, you had an image of the character inside your head while reading.
Authors who have mastered the art of painting a picture with the use of words are responsible for these kinds of narratives. They are the Da Vincis and Piccasos of the pen and paper world. They make you feel real emotions while you read their fictional stories. They make you care about what is going on in the story they have written.
You might be a student tasked to write a short story or a novice writer itching to get started with your first novel. Before you start writing and weaving your narrative together, consider these tips to help you make a compelling story.
1. Expose Yourself to a Lot of Narratives
Reading a lot is a general tip for most writing endeavors. How can you know if your writing is good if you have not read a masterfully written book? Now, reading fictional books is a good way to identify how skillful authors are able to express their stories in such a convincing way. However, this should not be the only type of narrative that you should consider reading.
Look at news articles or news reports and try to find some witness testimonies. Take note of the words the witnesses use, how they act while talking, and the subtle facial expressions that they make. This will give you an insight into how people react when they are under certain circumstances. You can also go to websites such as Customessaymeister to check out some narrative essay samples. Narrative essays are short stories and can provide students with ideas on how to structure their work. Read a lot of them!
Another way would be to take a walk or jump on a bus ride. Plug your earphones on but don’t play any music. Begin eavesdropping on strangers. This will give you an idea of how other people talk and give you an idea for a scene or a whole chapter. Just watch out, if you eavesdrop about Grandma Martha dropping her dentures, make sure not to laugh or giggle. This will blow your cover!
2. Set a Realistic Goal
If you are new to writing narratives, setting a realistic goal can help you ensure that you are on track. Short stories and novels range from 1,000 words to 150,000 words. This may sound a lot for a beginner but that is why you have to set your standards. Begin with writing a 1000 word short story. See how long that takes you and improve from there.
Avoid setting goals that are unrealistic for you. Writing is a creative process and there will be days that you will have trouble writing up 1,000 words but there will also be days when 5,000 words are just a couple of hours of work.
3. Learn from other Writers
If you have a chance of talking with other writers and getting their insights about certain styles, then go for it! Consider joining a writing club or even attending a book signing event. Try to probe the minds of other writers and try to incorporate their styles in your work.
You can also try to probe the creative minds of writers from essay writing services. Go avail of some of their services and dissect the papers they submit to you. Writers from those websites write every day and have cultivated unique techniques in their writing.
4. Play a Story-Driven Video Game
Story-driven games are unique since they are able to give the player a first-hand view of the story. They provide a suspension of belief through the use of the player character. It is the player that dictates the action of the character and their response to the game world. As a narrative writer, the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your characters is a must.
Like reading books, story-driven games will also spark your creative side and provide you with interesting ideas. Same with the eavesdropping tip, games can also provide you an insight into how different people talk. This even improves on that tip since you can play games that have themes from other cultures, therefore, learning about new speaking patterns and habits. Seriously, go and play a video game.
5. Get to know your Characters
Writing a good narrative requires creating unique characters that your readers would love. If you make a bland and cliche character, people will lose interest in your story. If you want to create an engaging and relatable character, make a character sheet. Go grab a blank piece of paper or start a new word document and fill them with your character’s details.
To help you with the details here are some categories to start on:
- Backstory – The backstory is your character’s origin. It can involve a tragic history that led them to their current path. It could be a story of how they got a scar or how they honed a certain skill.
- Skills – Skills are your character’s physical and mental capabilities. You should avoid creating a character with too many skills. It could make them boring since they have an answer to almost every problem.
- Personality – It is best to write down a character’s personality so you can avoid writing scenes and lines that do not fit with their persona. You should base the actions and responses of your characters based on their personality.
- Weaknesses – Making your character vulnerable is one of the best ways of making sure they are not boring. When you have a list of their weaknesses, it will be easier to add new companions that can complement your character. It will also help you build your main antagonist and make them more threatening to the protagonist.
Use these to start your character sheet. Don’t do this only for your main character, do it for every significant character in the story. Readers may not be able to see these character sheets but the effect it has on how your characters are built and develop will certainly engage your readers.
6. Remember that you are Painting with Words
When you are writing your narrative, don’t think of yourself as only a writer. Imagine that you are painting inside the mind of your readers. You want them to visualize what you are imagining inside your head while you are writing.
Use words that can evoke deep emotions and help readers visualize a scene. Instead of saying “He was very happy seeing the night sky for the first time”, try “ A stream of ecstasy filled his eyes with glitter as the night sky introduced him to the stars.”. Using words to help the reader visualize what the character is feeling and what is happening in a scene is an important part of narrative writing.
The narrative style is one of the most fun and engaging styles of writing. It can be daunting at first since every word that you will write will directly come from your head. But once you get started and the flow of creativity is rushing through your head, you will be writing non-stop. Follow these tips and your narrative writings will surely capture your reader’s attention.