How to Write a Good Story

Hey there friend! Today, we’re going to talk about some of the elements that make a good story. These principles can be applied to both fiction and nonfiction writing. 

As a historian and freelance writer, it is my job to tell stories – some stories have a happy ending and some just don’t. That’s just the reality that comes with writing about real people who lived complex lives. I consider writing the stories of people from the past one of my greatest privileges. Their lives can teach us something new every day. 

I’m going to break this into 7 steps! 

1. Start with something that grabs the reader’s attention. 

The first thing you want to do in any story is grab the reader’s attention. The reader has to want to know more about what is going on. 

2. Add some background to the story. 

Context is very important to the progression of the story. You can start in the action, but then you’ll want to zoom out and give the reader the big picture. (i.e. family, local, national, or international scales) 

3. Show the reader around the scene. 

Give the reader all of the details! You want to show the reader the scene not just summarize it. Transport the reader into the world that the story takes place in. 

4. Present the problem or conflict of the story.

After establishing the scene and the context, present the conflict of the story. What is the problem? Why is it a problem? How will the character solve the problem? 

5. Take the reader on a journey to solve the problem or conflict. 

After you’ve established the problem, it’s time to present the proposed solution to said problem. This is often where the majority of the story takes place. As the author, you get to decide what the mood for the proposed solution and journey is. 

Bonus Tip: Decide what point of view you are telling the story from, decide whether or not you need a third-party narrator. 

6. Resolve the problem or conflict of the story. 

After your character has completed the journey, it’s time to resolve the conflict or wrap up the story. Not all conflicts can or will be solved. So make sure that the ending suits the story being told. 

Bonus Tip: Decide if you need to reiterate a moral or lesson in your story. Was there a lesson to be learned? Did the character discover a hidden truth? 

7. Finally, end the story. 

You get to decide whether or not your story has a happy ending. Always tell the story that needs to be told even if you receive push back.

Remember, you CAN tell this story and nobody else can. I believe in you! Happy writing, y’all! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

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