How To Make Your Story More Realistic Part 1: Pre-Writing

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Ideas to make your writing better and ways to make your stories sound and look better.

Only part 1. If I find time I may write extra suggestions.

Submitted: June 15, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 15, 2010



How To Make Your Story More Realistic Part 1: Pre-Writing

  1. Storyline
    1. Coming up with one
    2. Constant Storylines
    3. Falling In Love
  2. Characters
    1. Descriptions



    1. Meeting the Characters

1. Storyline:

The storyline is the most important and influential part of writing a story, but for some the easiest part. Remember, without a storyline there would be no story.

Coming up with a Storyline

Storyline ideas can be either really hard or really easy. For some, they know immediately what they want to write about and can start immediately. Others need help, so here are some tips on making a storyline.

First, what I’ve found to be easiest is to decide on a few aspects of storylines you might want. Such as an affair with the mayor’s wife, or an alcoholic father. If you think of enough ideas, when you put them together, you’ll have a rough outline of your storyline.

If you already have a basic idea for a storyline DO NOT start writing. Add more storylines. No published book has one storyline. Come up with more plotlines and storylines. Make it a story-web and not a storyline.

If your imagination is on the fritz and you can’t think of anything at all, read someone else’s story. Often times their story will give you ideas for your own. That’s not to say you should copy their ideas (that is illegal and wrong people!), but something in their story might spark your own ideas. Just be careful, there is a difference between adding to your own story, and plagiarizing.

Constant Storylines

Some storylines are used all the time. You know the ones I’m talking about: arranged marriage to a vampire, vampire’s pet, Edward if Bella didn’t exist, etc. They’re good storylines but they’re unoriginal. Props to whomever came up with it first, but people need to stop using those stories. Instead come up with your own. If you want to write about Edward Cullen, write with what Stephenie Meyer gives you to write with. If you want to write about an arranged marriage, add a ton of twists that no one knows yet. What if the girl marrying the vampire is actually a spy for vampire hunters, only marrying him to gain knowledge of vampires? That’s a twist and makes the story better.

Falling in Love

Let me make something very clear, when the girl gets the guy or the guy gets the girl, that’s not a storyline. That’s a part of the plot. And in most books, the guy that ends up with the girl in the beginning almost never ends up with her in the end. There are books like Twilight that have the guy and girl meet very fast and fall for one another very fast, but those are the hardest kind to write – mostly because if they meet quickly and fall in love quickly it’s not realistic. The best thing to do there would be to do what Stephenie Meyer did, she wrote her story in such a way that the two characters were like a Romeo and Juliet, destined to love but would kill themselves to do it.

So I don’t want to see stories where the guy and girl meet immediately and fall immediately (that includes for celebrity stories: Jonas, Kaulitz, etc), because that’s just not realistic. It’s fake and childish to write like that.

2. Characters:

Deciding on and describing characters can be one of the hardest parts of writing stories, but don’t give up on it.

Descriptions of Characters

The first step is to pick out your characters. This can be a challenge to the very imaginative and those lacking in imagination. You don’t want your characters too generic but describing them too much can get tricky.

a. Generic

An example of too generic would be “John Smith, a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, senior looked right at me.” Many problems with that sentence.

First off, the name. There has got to be something more unique then John Smith out there. How about Jacob Morris. Boring still, but he doesn’t sound like a Disney character anymore.

Next, the description. This is the kind of description to use for a minor character, not a main character. For minor characters all that the reader needs is a basic understanding of what they look like, but let’s pretend Jacob “John Smith” Morris is a main character. What color of blue eyes does he have – dark blue, light blue, aquamarine – and how dark is his blonde hair – dirty blonde, pale blonde. Do you see a pattern?

So let’s change that sentence.How about, “Jacob Morris, the cute Senior who sat behind me in French everyday last year, looked right at me, his light blue eyes shining at me and his dirty blonde hair ruffled to look as sexy as I remembered”. That’s how to write a description sentence: a little bit of description, a little bit of action, and a little bit of past stories.

b. Descriptive

A problem for the too imaginative is that their stories have too much description and too much uniqueness.

For example, “Aurora Walker had tiny eyes the size of buttons allowing people to only see her black beads of irises; her disgusting, dark brown, greasy hair was pulled in a tight Chinese bun with chopsticks holding it together, while her outfit of a dark blue pant suit showed as the only proof that she was the daughter of wealthy businessmen, Mr. and Mrs. Walker.”

The problem first and foremost is her name. Aurora. If her parents are wealthy businessmen they probably care about their looks and the looks of their family. Meaning it is highly doubtful they would name their daughter Aurora. If her parents were hippies or something the littlest bit strange, it would be plausible. But otherwise, her name would most likely be something simpler, like Jennifer.

Next to go over would be the description. This is a good description, using words like black beads and greasy hair, but it’s a tad long. It’s all right to have a paragraph of description, but don’t make it one sentence. Spread the wealth a little bit.

Last is the amount of description. This would be a good amount for a main character for those who have the imagination to make up such a character. But this is a main character description. A minor character would need half the description written and not nearly as much emphasis on the girl’s looks but more on her past story. Minor characters are mostly only described because they help somehow in the main story. Don’t describe the parts of them that aren’t important. If the reader gets too much description at one time, the entire story’ll just confuse them.

So, now the description should look more like this: “Jennifer Walker, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walker, wealthy Businessmen from L&W Planning, looks nothing like her parents. Her eyes were small, like buttons, and only showed her beady black eyes. Along with that, her dark brown hair was greasy and in dire need of conditioner, not that you could properly see it because it was pulled up in a tight Chinese bun with chopsticks holding it in place.”

Meeting the Characters

The first time the reader meets your characters will be one of the most important parts, and one of the easiest to screw up. To start, with beginning writers like yourself your first instinct is to do what everyone else has done in the past. Example:

[insert emo picture]







Now I don’t think I need to fill all that out to give you the idea. The point I’m making is that this is how most new writers create character descriptions. This is not a proper character description. This is an amateur way to write. You will never see a published storywriter like Stephenie Meyer or Rachelle Caine write something like this. They use the paragraph form of description to identify characters. Do not get in the habit of doing this; it’s just a shortcut, and not even the good kind of shortcut.

Another part of meeting characters that’s very important is how the main character feels about them. As most beginner writers do, you probably write in the personal “I” point-of-view. Meaning you have an easier time letting your reader know how the main character feels about other major/minor characters then those who write in third person.

So use that ability to describe exactly how your main thinks of your other characters. Does she hate them, love them, think they’re weird but hot, etc. Let the reader know all.

© Copyright 2018 Glissa. All rights reserved.

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