How to write a good story

Or tell a good story–

What’s the difference?

One makes you a writer the other is…

My letter for the A-Z Challenge 

S= Storytelling

To me telling a story is easier than writing one. And because I enjoyed telling stories I thought writing stories would be a cinch. 

Well, I’ve learned the joke was on me.

Yep, after reading the many great writers and bloggers floating around on the web, I realized how little I knew about writing.

I wasn’t even sure I understood the English language. Somewhere I evidently missed a class or a dozen.

At least, Y’all weren’t into shaming and finger-pointing. Instead, you stepped up, taught and encouraged me as well as any other writer who asked for help.

So what did I learn about storytelling?

  • Telling a story is easier than writing a story. Telling a ghost story as you sit around a campfire is different that writing a ghost story on paper. For one thing, it’s harder to scare the pee out of a group of third graders without a flashlight. 
  • I gotta have a theme. But leave the preaching the Reverend at First Baptist. If my readers want a sermon, they’ll attend church not read my book.
  • A good plot equals good action. However, that doesn’t mean I need to blow the hell out of everybody that doesn’t get shot. Just means a story needs to move forward and wrap up satisfactorily .
  • Know my characters – intimately. So much so, that by the time my book is ready for publication I’m sick of them. Why? Because if I don’t know and understand my characters, how can I expect the readers to understand them?
  • I better know what the hell I’m writing about, and where the story is going, especially if I want to explain these things to my reader.

One last thing.

If you enjoy listening to books on tape check out these online  Storytelling blogs as a way to get back in touch with the art of storytelling.

Story Center 

National Storytelling Network 

Story Teller

Do you find telling the story easier than writing the story down?

Do you think there is a difference in storytelling and writing a story?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

Below are links to read more tips on better reading your way to better writing.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

For Tips on how to write that story better check out these writers:

Short Story Tips: 10 Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing by Dennis Jerz and Kathy Kennedy
What Makes a Good Story? By Aaron Shepard
Want to Improve Your Writing Skills? 5 Fun Storytelling Exercises to Try By Marian Schembari



4 thoughts on “How to write a good story

  1. I actually find writing a story easier than telling one. I like being able to go back and correct things and change the way they sound. I always forgot important details when storytelling, I really admire those people that can weave a story out of thin air well enough to keep people listening

    Liked by 1 person

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