If you are looking for ideas on how to write a story, then you could be one of the budding authors. The CBSE has launched a “Budding Authors program” as part of their “Reading Mission”. Both these initiatives are products of the new National Education Policy (NEP), which is set to improve reading habits in children so that kids “learn to read and read to learn”. Writing a short story will boost your communication skills, writing skills, creativity and self expression. Moreover, if your story gets selected then it can be published by CBSE.
CBSE has launched the Budding Authors program in the second anniversary of launching the reading mission. This means that writing is the next step after reading. So, if you read lots of books, you will get ideas on how to write better.
How to Write a Story? A Guide for Budding Authors
Just as you need the right ingredients to make tasty lemonade, the same way you need the right ingredients to make an interesting story. A good story has several elements/ingredients which capture your attention while you get entangled in the storyline. This article will give you ideas about how to write a story, especially for budding authors. So, how does an author write a story?
What does a story have in it?
A story has story elements, a sequence of events, the main theme, and a plot. I think everything we talk about in our daily life is a story. Something happens and you describe it to someone, then it’s a story.
A story is about someone or something. The story takes place somewhere and has a background. There is some emotional aspect to the events too. In a good, interesting story, there is some challenge or difficulty that is resolved in the end.
Some stories are short, some have sequels. Some are long stories like in novels or chapter books. Most stories have text or prose but some can be in poetry form or verses.
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1. What are story elements?
A story must have
If you are planning to write a story, then you need to determine the details of these elements so that you write an interesting story. Let’s read further to know more about each of these elements.
Characters are those people, animals, or those things around which the story revolves. Some stories have many people of all ages in them. Folktales and fairy tales have animals, birds, ghosts, fairies, and witches.
Stories can also be about non-living things like tables, clocks, etc and they can talk in stories. Even animals can talk in stories. These are fiction stories, they are imaginary and not real. All these people, animals, birds and things in a story are called characters.
These characters can be good or bad. You might feel happy, amused, anxious, worried, dislike, angry or sad for these characters as you read the story. Characters can be multi-faceted and play an influential role in developing the story.
So, to write a story, you must decide who will be the central character in your story. Who will be the secondary characters? Other background characters may not play a major role in the story. Then you need to develop the characters like real people.
Real people have personality traits, attitudes, behaviour, hobbies, work, and so on; these characters too can have such attributes so that they are multi-faceted like real human beings.
The place where the story takes place is the setting. Setting includes time, weather, season, forests, city, villages, etc. The author needs to describe the setting because that is how the mood develops. The author’s tone and voice are built with the help of the setting description.
As an author, you need to show, not tell. You need to describe the setting. Is it hot and humid or is it raining or cold? Is sweat running down the back or fingertips cold in the chill? Are the birds flying past? Is it calm or noisy? Are there children playing around? Are the leaves rustling as the breeze blows past them? Is the setting sun shining through the leaves of the dense forest?
All of these create a mood and the reader gets involved in the story. Culture, historical events, natural disasters, etc, can be a part of the setting. The setting lends a context to the events and helps the reader to visualize the story as they read it.
Every story has something that’s troubling the characters. They strive to resolve the issue, that’s what the story is about. The “problem” in the story is a conflict or a difficult situation. It can be an actual event that’s challenging or emotions that are difficult.
The conflict can be an external event as well as some difficult emotions for the characters as they resolve the external events. The conflict makes the story interesting It is what keeps the reader hooked in the story and curious about what will happen next.
Life has many conflicting, difficult situations that people find challenging. If your story has these kinds of situations that readers can relate to, then the readers will find your story interesting to read. These situations can be external or internal.
The problem is that part of the plot which you must build, justify why the situation is challenging, and show how characters are in discomfort.
The solution is how the problem gets resolved. The problem creates suspense from the beginning of the story and develops thereafter. Suddenly problem intensifies and that’s the climax of the story. The reader will not quit reading your story at this point.
The characters have feelings and personalities like anybody else in the real world. If the problem is a cause for concern, then readers will wait for the problem to get resolved. There has to be some way the difficulties and challenging situation eases. As an author, you need to show how the problem was resolved.
Sometimes, if a sequel follows the story then there could be an incomplete ending. Moreover, the solution may not always be a happy ending.
e. Key Events
These are the main points of the story, and they can take many different forms. Key events can be about a singular or a series of events that act as a turning point, or an action that changes the narrative.
This can be done in several ways, depending on the problem in the story. You can ask a question in the story that needs to be answered by the end of the story or you can make a statement at the end of the story.
There needs to be an external conflict, like an event or action. Alternatively, internal emotions or feelings create dramatic tension and need to be resolved. Not every story has to be dramatic or have a hero. They could also be simple relatable everyday kind of story that just describe an event that happens around a conflict.
The most important parts of a story might be:
- An action or interaction that affects the main character.
- Something that affects the people around the main character
- The turning point gives the story, a twist.
- Solution or a reasonable ending.
- A lesson, discovery or finding of some kind.
2. Story Structure
Budding authors must take care of the story sturcture when they write. The structure of a story is very important to make sense of all that is happening inside the story. A text can have visual words that describe the setting, characters or events.
You can use phrases that show a sequence of events. There could be a reason why something happens, like in a cause and effect.
Point of view
The author’s (narrator’s) point of view or the character’s point of view is influential for the reader. Most stories have the point of view of one central character throughout the story. Some stories have points of view of multiple characters.
The plot is the sequence of events that happen in the story. A story has a beginning where the characters and setting are introduced. Additionally, the problem is introduced in the beginning and then it builds up from this initial part. This is called rising action.
The story develops and the dramatic pace rolls on for the climax of the story. The middle of the story is the peak of rising drama (conflict) and creates suspense. The situations change or the characters get into action for resolving the conflict. This is called falling action. Something happens and the conflict is resolved in the end.
The theme is a broad or big idea behind the story. It is the essence of why the events and the drama take place in the story. It can be good over evil, social issues, growing up, sibling rivalry, gender stereotypes, gender discrimination, rural issues, urban issues, life skills, social skills, etc.
3. The Process to write story for budding authors
Journaling or writing diary entries is a great way to get your thoughts and words flowing. Brainstorm ideas to begin with the process of writing. Write down these ideas. Whichever theme or idea appeals to you, develop it further using the story elements listed above.
Get inspiration from your life, people and things around you. Get inspiration from other storybooks and writers too. Start by writing the first draft and then edit it to give structure. Polish and edit the drafts. Make all the elements well-aligned so the story sounds complete. Improve your story with dialogues and lend emotions to the characters. By using all the story elements, you can give structure to the story.
Include words that show the sensory details, like
This will help the reader visualize the narrative. Also, use transition words to make the story organized and coherent.
After reading this article, you will have ideas about how to write a story for the CBSE Budding Authors program. Consider all the story elements while writing your story. Make edits and polish your writing to make it look natural. Sound your story by reading aloud.
Ask your family member to listen and give feedback. You may even record your story narration when you read aloud. Then listen to the recording to check how the story sounds. Keep the words flowy and try not to leave abrupt unfinished ends unless your story requires it. Congratulations, you will write a good story that you want to tell.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Where and how do I get the inspiration for writing the story?
You can read short stories on the online Storyweaver platform and find the story elements in those stories. Observe how the author shows the personality of the characters. Reading storybooks and children’s newspapers will inspire you, moreover, you can look for stories from your life incidents, your friends, and neighbourhood.
What can I do to overcome writer’s block?
A writer’s block is a temporary mindset. So, take a break, be comfortable and happy. You can come back to writing with some inspiration. Remember, in the first draft, just pour your thoughts on paper. You can re-visit the story again for editing.