When writing a story try to follow these 11 tips
1st. Before starting to write, plan ahead your story: Think out what’s the story you want to tell about: main characters and major events. Maybe you already know the end before writing the first sentence: that's not bad.
2nd. Once you start writing, do not stop: Keep your hand moving. Write and write telling the story with many details (they will appear while you write). When writing, do not worry about punctuation, or spelling, or syntax. You can correct it at the end, when you've finished your story, not while you’re writing it.
3rd. Keep from beginning to end the same point of view of the narrator: Do not jump from first to third person, and vice versa, in the middle of the story. (Don’t write: “Andrew came downstairs, went out and bought the newspaper. I browsed and searched to find out the winning number in the lottery. It was mine! I was the winner!”) Don’t you see the bug? You must be able to maintain the same point of view from beginning to end in your story.
4th. Do not change tenses: If you go from past to present without realizing it, it’s a mistake. As in the previous case, jumping in a moment of peak action should be avoided: “When I went into the bank I met Julian. I recognized him immediately. I go out, I cross the street and I hide in a doorway...”
5th. Do not use telegraphic language: Describe the space, dialogues, gestures and actions with the necessary extension. Don’t be lazy. If the idea is clear in your mind, put it down with as much detail as possible.
6th. Avoid if possible the use of onomatopoeia and ellipsis: Writing isn’t a comic. In colloquial speech it could have primary use and aids communication, but in the world of writing, onomatopoeias must be described through their effects. Instead of writing: “Esther fell off the chair. Crash! Alas!,” it’ll be better to describe it: “The chair creaked and broke up making a big noise. Esther fell down, hit her forehead and gave a cry of pain.”
7th. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. From a misconception that literary language is the ornate, baroque and elaborate one, people try to imitate the great authors using a language that sounds “literary”. If I say: “The white, spongy and soft snow falls gently upon the roof,” I'm wasting words, because the snow itself has no other choice but to be white, spongy, soft, and falling gently.
8th. Use common words: To tell a story it is not necessary to resort to unusual or high-sounding words, but the naturalness, vitality and continuity of the scenes. If you describe a child on the beach who says: “Oh, Dad. Have you noticed how beautiful is that crustacean that lies beneath the sun?” No one believes it, because children don’t speak like that. So ask yourself: Do your characters speak within the text as real people speak in normal life? Use concrete nouns.
9th. Don’t write philosophical theses about loneliness, war, and love, but tell stories, fictional but concrete, starting with the names of the characters, buildings, streets and cities. Instead of tree, write pine, ash or acacia; instead of a car, write Peugeot 205 red type. Not a town, but Rome. Not a child, but Charles. Not a flower, but a white rose. Not a store, but Smithson’s Appliances.
10th. Fill your story with details and movement: A tale should almost always have “something” (an odd story, a conflict, a strong scene, an event). Make something happen (not necessarily tragedies), and be sure that your characters move and make gestures. Describe them using all senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell) in small, visual and tangible details. It is often the magic of a well-described scene that catches the reader’s attention.
11th. Check all it when you’ve finished: Edit, change, cut the unnecessary, rewrite, add details and sharpen your text. Now is the right time to do it.
(c) Enrique Páez