Sabine A. Reed Guest Post: Story Writing Why Less is More
Story Writing – Why less is More?
A writer’s job is to make a story as interesting and dramatic as possible. The characters should leap off the pages, be alive and engage the readers in their lives. The reader needs to care for the hero’s motivation, to cry and laugh along with the main characters and to feel their pain. It isn’t easy to make a fictional world seem real, but here are few tips to make your story as fascinating as possible.
Make each scene count
Too many times I’ve read books by new writers who are trying to paint a minutely detailed picture. Fine, you need a setting that’s plausible and real, but do I really need to know every single aspect of the room the hero’s standing in? Instead, give me an action sequence, a dialogue and just brush lightly over the details. A golden rule is that for every paragraph of description, there should be at least four paragraphs of action/dialogue.
Action speaks louder than thoughts.
If your character enters a scene, sits in a chair and broods over how he needs to save the love of his life or even the world…well, there’s something wrong with that scene. In fact, delete that scene. You don’t need it in the story. Instead show the hero doing something; be it a battle, or a conversation. No one wants to read four pages full of character’s thoughts and wanderings. A good writer can make the character motivations clear in two lines.
Never start the story with the main character sitting and reminiscing about his life - even if he gets beaten every day, is being raised by trolls who are planning to sell him to a community of giants as a slave or just lost his entire family in a fire. Instead, show him getting a beating or standing on a podium being sold or trying to save his family in the fire that eventually kills them all.
Make the journey troublesome
I love fantasy quests that require the hero to make a long journey. In fact I did the same in my novella The Black Orb, but while my heroine was traveling to find the magical talisman that will save the world, and her brother, she fought to save her life, almost got raped, met dryads, saved a child’s life and lost her only friend. It was a journey she would never forget, and neither would a reader. If you are showing the journey in order to give poetic descriptions of your fictional world, the reader will end up turning the pages quickly to find some real action…and maybe even put the book down.
Don’t get hanged up on the word count
So many writers try to reach that magic number of 80,000 that classifies a story as a novel. Don’t stretch a story more than its organic reach. Would you rather see a seventy minutes long movie that keeps you glued to the seat or a hundred minutes long movie that puts you to sleep? Same way, I would prefer to read a fascinating 30,000 words novella than a boring 80,000 epic fantasy. Your short story or novella is just as likely to find an audience as a long novel, thanks to self-publishing that will allow you to publish any kind of story.