Stories are all around us – we engage with stories and storytelling in many aspects of our daily lives – talking to friends, watching TV, reading books, even historical study is told through stories. We all have a storyteller inside us, and here are our top tips on how to translate the stories from your mind onto the page.
1. Pick a theme
You can find inspiration for a story anywhere – your daily life, past experiences, news stories or even delving deep into your imagination for ‘what ifs’. Try to base your story around something you’ve already learned in English to give you some confidence in your vocabulary before you start.
2. Become a magpie
Observe and gather – information, conversations, witty sayings, wonderful ways that other people express their thoughts and feelings. Watch how people interact with each other in public settings. Read the news. Read other stories. All of these things can give you inspiration, ideas or the perfect line to accurately describe a moment in your story.
3. Make a creative space
Give yourself some time and space to really immerse yourself in your story and write your best work.
Put all of the ideas and observations you have onto paper. It doesn’t need to be neat – play around with them, cut them out, mount them on the wall – just let yourself see all of your ideas in one space, so you can begin to piece them together.
5. Pick a point of view
Are you going to tell your story in the first person (e. I heard a noise) or the third person (i.e. she heard a noise). Making this clear and sticking to it from the start will help your story hold together and is easier for the reader.
Write a basic framework of key plot points and relevant details, which will help you map out the scenes that make up the story.
The exciting part – get writing! Put all of your thoughts down and resist the urge to edit as you go along. Get all of your main points down. You may be tempted to write the story in your native language and translate it later, but if you can, try to write it in English from the start to give you more practise and help the story to flow.
8. Keep it simple
To begin with, it might be easier for you to keep it simple with the plot of your story and having a rough length in mind could also help – stories can be really short but still really impactful; have a look at some example Drabbles below for what you can do with just 100 words!
9. Edit your story
Once you have the main story written, go back through, make tweaks, proof your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and perhaps ask other people to read your story to see if it makes sense and works for the reader. Go away and come back to your story another time with fresh eyes if you think you’ve spent too long looking at the words in one sitting!
10. Finish it
Writing for pleasure has multiple benefits – it can greatly improve your written English, but also improve your confidence. If you don’t think your story is very good initially – don’t give up. You’ll get a sense of satisfaction from finishing it, and every learning journey is made up of lots of little steps.
So, there they are – our top 10 tips for writing a story in English. We hope you find the list interesting and inspiring. We’d love to hear your stories if you manage to write one, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And lastly, for some inspiration, here are some Drabbles – stories told in 100 words – taken from www.writing.ie
Lost In Time
My footsteps ring out hollowly amidst the emptiness. The world around me is ravaged, deserted. They haven’t been here for so long, but the evidence is still clear. This was once someone’s home.
The detritus of their past existence still lingers, a broken doll amongst the rubble, a shattered photo frame, its picture yellowing now with age.
There is still life here. Bugs crawl around on the floor, ignoring my passage. Creepers and vines entangle on the walls, fed by the dripping water from the broken roof. It wasn’t death that stalked here, leaving this devastation. It was merely time.
I remember the first time I saw the stones. Dawn was pinking the sky as I climbed over the fence and snuck into the field. I could feel their presence. Maybe it was my imagination running wild, or maybe it was something more: something ancient and magical.
Creeping through the morning mist, I saw the shadow of the megalithic monster before me. They are an impressive sight to behold. They make you wonder about times past and how they built this wonderful structure.
It was then that I was brought suddenly to the present.
“Hey you!” shouted the security guard.
On the Tip of my Tongue.
Unspoken words are usually better than words spoken in anger, and yet, they lie awake at night, weeping, wanting to be set free. They are like flowers that will never open, denied of their moment of glory in the morning sun.
They are the dusty manuscripts that never get read, let alone published. They can be the key to unlock the revolution that is going on inside your head. They can be your path to Eldorado.
They can be simply, No, or stop, or I don’t think that’s a great idea, lads. If let fly, they might save someone’s life.
Drabble source: https://www.writing.ie/members_blog/a-sample-of-drabbles-and-short-stories/