How To Write An Engaging And Memorable Story
I'm so, so, so tired of finding stories that have intriguing, wonderful plots, but are written so poorly that I can't focus on what's actually happening. We all know what I mean, right? So... Here I am with some tips on how to really write.
True, not every author is the same, and not everyone is going to agree with these tips, but there are certain things that we all need to remember when writing. So have a look~
What You Should Do
Definitely Do These Things:
First and foremost: Use proper grammar!
In my opinion (and I'm sure everyone will agree on this one), there is absolutely nothing worse than trying to read something written with a complete lack of good grammar. That means the absence of punctuation, capitalization, and correct apostrophe and comma placement, among other things that most of us learned in second grade. I cannot place enough emphasis on how important this is! Honestly, no one wants to read, "and, so, i went to teh store bcause i needed some fud for sis". I'm sorry, but you sound like a Lolcat.
Include interesting and detailed descriptions!
Without detail, your writing (not just stories; this applies to all writing) will appear bland and boring. That, or readers will see you as too lazy to give details to your characters, their actions, the setting, etc.; while long, lyrical descriptions tend to be used for fantasy and romance writing, there's certainly no harm in adding detail to your action stories, your mysteries, your science fiction, or anything else.
For example, "She stepped silently toward the source of the noise, heart pounding..." sounds much better than, "She walked toward it. Her heart was beating fast."
(Remember, though, don't be too descriptive. A few sentences don't need to become their own paragraph.)
Describe your characters' appearances gradually.
Unless you're writing up a list of characters to use in future stories, or contributing to a group story with many other authors, it's not a great idea to include a character bio at the very beginning. In all writing, it's highly important to make your readers curious, because if they're curious, they will keep reading in order to satisfy that curiosity. Instead of giving a blandly stated character bio, first give your readers a hint at who the character is. Reveal this through their actions, feelings, thoughts, and how they treat others -- by slowly revealing their personality and appearance, you maintain a sense of intrigue.
Use higher-level words (but be careful not to overwhelm readers).
By replacing the word "dark" with, for example, "overcast", "sunless", "shadowy", or even "tenebrous", you'll appear to be even more well-educated and intelligent than you already are. Now, I'm not saying you should make yourself look pompous, but if you choose more complex words rather than simple ones that you've been using since you were seven, you'll add strength to your writing.
A note of caution: Refrain from replacing every single word with some obscure, sixteen letter synonym. You'll clog up the writing this way; sometimes it's best to stick with plainer words.
Create a new paragraph each time you have a new speaker.
I learned this one the hard way. While you, as the writer, know who's saying each bit of dialogue, readers will definitely be confused by something like this:
"So... are you ready?" Kayla asked us. We glanced at each other, hesitating, then agreed. "Yes, we are." "Good, then! Let's go!" We smiled slightly, and followed her. "Thanks!"
Instead, go with this version...
"So... are you ready?" Kayla asked us. We glanced at each other, hesitating, then agreed.
"Yes, we are," we told her.
"Good, then! Let's go!" We smiled slightly, and followed her. "Thanks!"
Only write when you feel you're ready.
This goes without saying -- you should never force yourself to write. Instead, do something to get yourself into the right mood, like reading your favorite novel, watching an interesting anime or TV show, or daydreaming (yes, daydreaming seriously helps with writer's block). Writing shouldn't have to be a chore.
Give your characters unique and original names.
Instead of giving your characters -- especially the main ones -- common and over-used names, it's a great idea to browse baby-name sites or even to make up a name in another language. Make sure that the name suits the character; a tough fighter type shouldn't have a name like Lilly or Bella. Instead, think of something like Corrym (Has anyone read LGA?) or Hunt.
Another note of caution: If the name is in a foreign or imagined language, make sure that people will be able to read and pronounce it easily. Instead of "Q'el'vhoerys", choose "Kelvorys".
It's difficult, but remain open to fair constructive criticism.
I know, I know -- nobody wants to be told that there's a flaw in their writing. But as long as someone's constructive criticism is fair, mature, and polite, they are not trying to "troll" you or insult your writing. Rather, they're trying to help you improve, because (pardon the cliche) there is always room for improvement. If what a person says seems rude to you, ask for clarification before saying something rude back. As I like to say, before getting angry, get the details.
And that's all for this first chapter! Feel free to comment if you can think of anything that I should add, or if you've noticed a typo.