Storytelling is an art and I’ll be sharing 14 best storytelling tips on how to successfully write your first book.
It takes a lot of processes to create an exceptional work of art that you want people to read. Baking a good story takes a lot of ingredients into consideration and you could become overwhelmed with the multitude of information out there.
Writing your first story doesn’t mean it has to be the perfect story. However, it has to convey the message you want your readers to enjoy in a compelling way that will have their attention from the first chapter.
There is a sequence and pattern to writing that will help you get your initial ideas on paper before you can take them to the workshop to hammer out the edges and fine-tune your piece.
These patterns are simple, easy steps that you can use to open up your mind and trigger your creative flow without worrying too much about the big rules or getting stuck up on how to write your story.
Understanding these 14 best story writing tips will guide your first story and every other story after that until you master the art of writing and fully understand your style.
Here are 14 tips on how to successfully write Your book
Tip #1: Start with what you know
Don’t reach too far for your first story idea or decide to write about something you have no idea about. I advise you choose the idea for your story from something you’re passionate about, an experience you had, a conversation you heard, or a scenario that has lingered on about something you are invested in.
Don’t pick your ideas from the moon or reach into the galaxies for the perfect story if you’re not going to put in the work to do justice to those ideas. Don’t mess up your first chance to make a good impression with a poorly written-story.
Write the story burning deep within your heart, and tell it the way it forms in your mind.
If you’re at a loss of where to begin on your own, you could consider using writing prompts to help with a creative boost.
Tip #2: Don’t complicate things too much
I must warn you that the urge to go all out with your first story might be blinding, but unless you have a coach by your side when you make those plans, I advise you to keep the complications to a minimum.
This will help you have a tight plot, engaging characters, and an enjoyable storyline without many flaws. It doesn’t mean your story has to be bland and plain. God No. It can only be enjoyable if it has just the right amount of spice and sauce to keep your readers excited and glued without going all out and not being able to deliver those emotions at the end.
In essence, keep it neat and simple.
Tip #3: Plan/plot your story from start to finish
If you’re a pantser, I beg you not to go that route with your first story. It’s best to plan/plot your story first, then allow those marvelous creative imaginations to lead the way throughout your story.
Having an outline is great but I fear it might fail if you are writing a lengthy story between 50k words and 80k words. Plotting the entire story is the safest route to avoid you getting stuck along the way.
When you’re more acquainted with your writing, you could go all out and do whatever you please with your WIP.
Remember, growth is a steady process.
Tip #4: Select the theme and title of your story from the start
To avoid writing an entire story without any idea where it’s headed, I strongly suggest you select the theme and title from the start.
The theme of your story informs the title and tone of your story. Without a theme, it is impossible to know where your story is headed. A theme is your story’s central message within a given genre.
An instance is writing a romance novella with a central theme of subjugation. This falls within the erotic romance/mafia romance/romance suspense/dark romance subgenre. This gives you an idea of the kind of story you will be writing.
Selecting any of these or a group of these will inform what your title will be and dictate the tone of your book. Your story will eventually lead up to explaining or elaborating on the title of your book.
The interconnectivity between theme, title, and tone cannot be overemphasized, so take a little time to make your choice.
Tip #5: Pick a set of troupes to blend into your story
Writing with troupes to complement your theme is not overrated.
Troupes are building blocks of your story upon which your theme is carved to create a compelling story. Although it is more prominent in fiction writing, it is not to say that non-fiction genres don’t have some of these elements in place.
The truth is, as much as people say troupes have been used to death – which some are – they are indispensable in story writing because it forms the structure of your story, succinctly tell your readers what your story is about, and paints a clear picture of what to expect from your story once they pick it up to read.
Example: Betrayal + Relationship of convenience + Forced proximity + Hate to love you + Slow burn + Exciting Twists = Spicy, heart-wrenching, emotional romance novel.
That’s about it, and you have a premise for a great story.
Tip #6: Work with fewer characters
Handling multiple characters in your first story could be a little difficult because their development and growth might get messed up. I advise you stick with two main characters or three at most.
The rest of the cast could come in to play as support but nothing major unless you’re thinking about writing a series where the other characters of the series make a major play in your story.
Either way, keep your character count to a minimum a focus on creating a killer profile and back story for your main characters that will make them unforgettable.
Tip #7: Let your story guide you
There’s no need to fret too much about writing your story, just tap into your mind and the feel of the visions in your head and let that guide your words.
Allowing your story to guide you will make the process enjoyable, fun, and fulfilling which prevents you from struggling with it.
We want to avoid mental fatigue, creative blocks, and stress as much as possible.
Tip #8: Know what POV works for you
There are several types of POV – point of view – in writing and there are two major types used by authors which are 1st person POV and 3rd person POV.
In my experience, beginners prefer to use the 3rd person’s point of view because it is easier to master since the author tells the entire narrative of the story.
I used 3rd person POV but later switched to 1st person point of view because I enjoyed it better and flowed well with it.
At some point, I mixed it up a lot, but I’m sticking with my choice for now.
The point here is to experiment with both as you grow until you find the one that sticks.
Tip #9: Keep your chapters tight
There is a saying in writing that ‘if it doesn’t add to your story, take it out.’ That is what it means to keep your chapters tight.
Your chapters don’t have to be 5k word long if it doesn’t need to be. Write until you feel you have exhausted what needs to be said in a chapter and move to the next. Don’t pad it out with unnecessary words because you want to achieve a certain word count per chapter.
Keep it entertaining, intriguing, and tight.
Tip #10: Make your story realistic
It’s a fictional story doesn’t mean it has to be unrealistic. If it sounds unreal to you, it will probably feel the same way to your readers.
Use things around you, write as if your characters were living in the real world and act like real humans. Don’t make him so heroic that he doesn’t feel pain or so in love that he’s blinded to hurt.
If he’s human, then he should bleed as normal humans do.
Tip #11: Know your timeline
Depending on the genre/subgenre you are writing in, you should know what timeline your story should be based upon. If you’re creating a new world, make sure to give a timeline and adequate backstory.
Also, you need to pick your story timespan. Will it be a story that spans over 3 months, 6 months, a year, or 2 years? Knowing this will help in plotting your story well and stretching your events through that timespan until the very climax is reached.
Tip #12: Be bold with your story
The fact that you are writing your first story, doesn’t mean you have to make it feel like one. I want to encourage you to be bold with your stories. Add your personal flavor to it, add a current issue in the mix, think a little outside of the confines of the norms, and create something brilliant to wow your readers.
Don’t hold back because it is your first story, give it your best shot, as you will every other book after it.
Tip #13: Experiment with your writing style
As you build consistency in writing, develop good writing habits and experiment with your style, you’ll get better at writing great stories and understanding your patterns as a writer more.
Practice as much as you can, explore different subgenres with your chosen niche, read more books within your niche, and learn from them.
Tip #14: Seek Feedback
Always seek feedback and constructive criticism from people you trust. Ask for reviews about your work and learn to encourage yourself and appreciate every piece of art you create.
Writing your first story doesn’t demand you to be perfect, rather, it seeks for you to be expressive with your words and captivating with the story you tell. Do not be dissuaded by the story you hope you tell, instead, be encouraged by the lives you will touch and the lives you will change with it.