So you want to write a story?

To get you started, here are some basic elements of story-writing.


Start with a beginning, middle and end, then you can mess about with the chronology if you wish to – as long as you are in control of your narrative.

The story may involve:

  • a quest
  • a person completing a puzzle.
  • conflict – a chase, race or crime.
  • revenge
  • a mistake which escalates out of control.
  • a moral; but don’t preach or patronise your reader.
  • an entirely original creation – a new planet with inhabitants.
  • a historical context like World War II.

Other elements to consider

  • The genre may inform the plot – as it does in romantic fiction; or a comedy might involve an absurd situation, such as discovering the teacher you always hated is your new next-door neighbour.imagesCASJI481
  • Consider who your reader will be and adopt the appropriate tone and language.
  • Suspense: feelings of excitement as the reader works out the ending.
  • Plot twists: an unexpected change in plot.
  • Anticipation: hold some things back – don’t give it all away.

Setting and Descriptions

Considering the 5 senses is a good focus as you write:

Sight – season, time of day, light, weather, buildings, objects around you, other people; colours, shapes, sizes.

Sound – birds, animals, traffic, planes, trains, shouting, children, leaves, machinery; loud, quiet.

Touch – textures: soft, rough, smooth; hot, cold, breezy.

Smell – pleasant, nasty; cooking, fire, flowers, new paint, clean, soap; fragrances, pleasant or otherwise.

Taste – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, metallic, oily.snoopy


Now add something about the character’s feelings and thoughts – fear, worry, joy, confusion – which could be considered the sixth sense.

By now you should enough information to get going. The rest is up to your imagination. The best way to learn how to write fiction is by getting on with it. You’ll write good and bad stories, but each one is a learning process whether it gets published or not.

Once it’s written you haven’t finished. You then begin the next major step … EDITING. More on this next time…


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