Writing can be fun if you know the secret to a good story. The trick is to get your main character into trouble. The more trouble you create for your character, the more interesting the story becomes. Think video games. The best ones are hard to beat. The boring games are the ones you beat in five seconds. In the box below, you’ll find Marty’s secrets to writing, along with a writing prompt.
1. The great thing about writing a story is you can make your character do all the things you’re not allowed to do in real life. Find ways to get your character in trouble.
2. The question “what if” is the stick that knocks the boring out of my ideas. I’m constantly wondering about what might happen. What if I went to school today and there were no teachers? What if my cat became a thief? Your answers to your own “what if” questions can shape your story ideas.
3. The first sentence is often the hardest to write. I try to match the opening line with the mood of the story. A funny tale could start with a sentence that makes your reader laugh. A scary story might start with something that makes the reader nervous. My favourite way to start a story is with an action that makes the reader wonder what is going to happen to the character.
1. Borrow from your life to flesh out your story. Use the details of places you’ve been to beef up your settings. Every person you meet might have a personality that suits your character.
2. If you’re stuck for what to write next, look at what you just wrote and describe the character’s reaction to the event. Then follow up with their decision to do something about what has just happened.
3. Think of your story as a video game your main character has to play. Save the hardest challenge for the end.
1. If you haven’t described clothes, the reader will think your characters are naked. Make sure you have dressed your characters.
2. Did you remember to describe your characters’ reactions to the big events in the story? If your characters don’t care what’s happening the story, neither will the reader.
3. Make sure you’ve created at least 3 obstacles in the middle of your story. Check to see if the obstacles are connected to each other. Avoid throwing in random problems. For example, if you have a character in a sinking boat on the Atlantic ocean, a second problem that makes sense is a shark wants to eat your character. A problem that doesn’t make sense is an alien wants to kidnap him.
Your character received a wrapped gift box, but it’s not Christmas or your character’s birthday. What’s inside?