Writing Your Story
A General Overview of Story Development

Character Developement
Plot Development
The Setting
Checking Story

Pre-Writing -- JUST DO IT MAN! It helps, believe me!

I must admit, I never used to pre-write.  I would get an idea and went with it. Bad mistake.  I've learned (rather quickly) to pre-write, and this was at an early stage.  I pre-write. I love to pre-write. I love to (egads, my English teachers must be jumping for joy right about now) to outline.  I've got notebooks full of ideas. You'd be amazed of what one can do in math class (oops, I just didn't exactly say that did I?).

Pre-writing, gives your story the "crystallization" it needs to be entertaining. If you don't know where you want to end, you'll never finish. Or you'll finish and you'll hate your story.

There are many different forms you can pre-write. My particular favorite is a modified "Academic Outline".  See one page of one of my outlines.

I can't possibly list them.  Each writer pre-writes differently.

1. The Characters

The Main Character

All of this translates into the central conflict of the story

The Secondary Characters

Minor Characters or Bit Players Main and secondary characters are "round" characters.  Minor and bit characters are flat.

2. The Central Conflict

The main character's biggest problem.  By story's end, your main character gets what he/she wants, usually.

Beginning ---->  Crisis ---->  Central Conflict Over ----> The End

3. The Setting

4. Narrator

The person who tells the story.

The 1st Person POV

The 3rd Person POV 5. Story Statement 6. The Plot of Your Story

There are two different types of plot structures.

The Journey Structure

The Contest Structure Two Schematics of the Plot:
There is the "visible" plot with the read sees.  Then there is the "invisibible" which is what the author sees.

In effect, the author knows everything that goes on.  You may want to use index cards to plot your scenes, or use an outline.

Defining Your Plot

Exposition: Introduces the characters and setting, establishes the point of view and gives background info on the story.

Opening Incident: Leads the main character to his/her conflict and begins the story.

Rising Action: Builds the conflict.  Adds new and more complicated incidents which lead into the central part of the story, the climax.

The Climax: This raises the conflict to the greatest intensity.  This changes the course of events or the way the reader understands the story.  This could be an either insight or an event.

Falling Action: *This is not always used* Reduces to conflict and sets up the resolution.

The Resolution: Ends the conflict and should leave the reader satisfied.

7. The Conflict

There are two different types of conflicts.

Internal Conflict: This is the conflict within the character.  He/she may wrestle with guilt, indecision, depression or inadequecies.

External Conflict:  Conflict with an outside force.  Enviroment like: droughts, floods, storms, fire... Another person: a boss, friend, colleague, adversary

8. Using Flashback

Flashbacks are difficult and I don't suggest using them unless it is vital to your story.  The overall purpose of a flashback is to give back information essential the reader's understanding of a character's motives.

Don't use flashbacks for details that aren't important to the story (you should give out details that aren't important anywhere for that matter).

Get your character back to his/her present time as quickly as possible too.  Make your changes from past to present smoothly and understandable.

9. Using Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is generally used to give subtle clues to the reader that something is about to happen.  It is not something that is direct.  This is to give your readers suspense and keeps 'em guessing what might happen next.  It usually shows an escape route for the hero later on if he/she might become trapped.  Foreshadowing is fun to play with, but don't o'er do it.

For Ex.

Jerry placed his spare house key in the planter next to the front door.  He left the empty boxes from his stereo equipment outside on his porch.  He thought to himself, I'll take care of these later.

Three Hours Later...

Lance was looking for a quick score.  He needed cash and he needed it quick.  He pulled up to house that looked inviting, all to inviting when he noticed the empty boxes. He saw his chance.  It was dark out, he stumbled over a planter, placed in a rather unusual spot.  He heard a sound on the concrete and bent down to see what it was.  This is going to be easier than I thought, he mused to himself.  He took the key and proceeded to unlock the door and help himself to some nice entertainment equipment.

This isn't the best example I could provide.  But I showed Jerry was courting trouble by leaving those empy cartons on his porch.

10. Figures of Speech

Don't over use clichés or slang.

Metaphors: A figure of speech that suggests likeness by speaking of one thing as if it was another.
Similes: A figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another, using the words "like" or "as."
Personification: A figure of speech in which a thing or idea is represented as a person.
Hyperbole: Exaggeration used for effect, not meant literally.
Symbol: A thing that stands for another; especially an object that stands for an idea, quality, etc.
Alliteration: Repetition of beginning sound, usually of a consonant, in one or two more words of a phrase, or line of poetry.
Assonance: Likeness of sound, especially of vowels, as in a series of words or syllables.
Onomatopoeia: The formation of a word by imitating the sound associated with the object of action.

Some Cool Phrases You Could Use

Cogito ergo sum -- (L) I think, therefore I exsist
Justita omnibus -- (L) Justice for All
Magna est veritas et praevale beit -- (L) Truth is mighty and will prevail.
Non sum qualis eram -- (L) I am not what I used to be.
Nosce te ipsum -- (L) Know thyself
Omnia vincit amor -- (L) Love conquers all
Veni, Vidi, Vici -- (L) I came, I saw, I conquered
Vincit omnia versitas -- (L) Truth conquers all things.

Alpha and Omega -- The beginning and the end.
Backhanded Compliment -- A compliment prased in such a away to suggest that is really criticism or a deprecation.
Divide and Conquer -- Achieve a victory by causing the opponents to quarrel among themselves.
Non Compos -- Out of it; of unsound mind; so seriously ill, injured or incapacitated one is unable to speak or act for oneself.
When in Rome, Do As The Romans Do -- Go along  with; follow local customs.

I have more phrases, sayings and what not. I'll be happy to point in you the right direction.

11. General Fiction Genres

12. Types of Fiction Categories 13. Rules of Editing 14. Dealing With Writer's Block I didn't invent these, there are just some helpful hints I've picked up along the way.

There is a creative side and an editoral side to writing.

Try to find a quiet place to do your writing with as little of interruptions as possible.  Play soft music in the background that doesn't have talking.   Always write as the same time and in the same place every time (I don't use this method.  I usually write in the office or in my bedroom).  Keep your materials organized. (I have a notebook full of my ideas and stories).  Notice what helps you write and what doesn't.  Sometimes I write better to silence, other times I don't.  It depends upon my mood.

Some Important Things About Those Scenes


There are three types of violence

The differences between this three have absolutely nothing to do with content.

(1) The Fun Violence

(2) Satisfying Violence (or Revenge) (3) The Repulsive and/or Threatening Make your victim good (this is my morbid self talking here...what can I say..."Ides of March" on Xena has me reeling mad at the TPTB from the series!!!). Your victim should be sympathetic.  They have little narrative drive in their lives (no wonder why they get violated...<G>).

Distinguishing Factors In the Three Types of  Violence

Repulsive/Threatning: Your victim should be helpless.

Fun Violence: This is the opposite way. The bad guy is bigger, better and more armed than the good guy.

Satisfying Violence: Bad guy normally untouchable. Protected by:

Spend time creating your bad guy.  The better you make him the more fun it is to blow him up.

To get a satisfied feeling from blowing up the baddie, make his victim someone who has been established as an appealing victim, loveable and helpless.

Establish an emotional chord as to which to strike.

Sex Scenes

This isn't one of my favorite topics.  But here it goes (sorry no pictures...)

Present a problem, move toward the solution and then the pay off (ala, they guy gets the lady in the end...<G>).  If it's not the end of the story, then it should create problem that will require a new solution.

Sex scenes don't often take place in one compact sequence of an event.  They are often built up through many events.

Sex in stories exsists much less than you think.  :)

Ah, that should do it.  I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial on how to write a story. I can answer a lot of questions (okay, maybe not a lot, but I'll try or at least point in the right direction) you may have.  I'll have a special page on character development shortly.  As well as a more in-depth story development page.  I'm pulling out all the stops in this website folks.

I compiled this page through my personal notes from high shool and through 'how-to' books.  I spent a good afternoon writing this page.  I like the 'violence' part the best.  I had fun with that, it must be my morbid sense of humor.  Anways, feel free to print this page up for own personal use.  Don't take what is said here to be the obsolute way, but it is the most correct way of writing.  It's what I've been taught and have read ever since I could read and write. :)

**DISCLAIMER**  No trees were harmed in the writing of this HTML document; however, two characters from the series "Xena: Warrior Princess" bought the big one and this is my way of dealing with it.

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This page was created on May 12, 1999.
This page was last updated on: July 20, 1999
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