Think Before You Write
Before you start writing a book you need to decide what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. It’s helpful to do this at the beginning because you may find once you’ve read your finished work you might want to change a large number of things. So deciding at the beginning will save you time later on in terms of editing and rewriting.
Here are some of the issues you need to address before you start writing:
What’s the message?
A really good story has a message. It makes people think about their problems and the problems affecting the world at large. The message gives your story its soul; it gives the story depth. Readers find stories with strong message more absorbing than those that are written for writing’s sake.
The genre is also an important aspect. While your story and the characters convey the message, the genre is what decides how this is done. Strong messages that reflect topical issues may be best conveyed in realistic fiction. But if you feel inclined to accentuate the message you might go for the fantasy/sci-fi route.
Point of view
In literature, there are three kinds of points of view.
1) First Person narration, where the story is told from the point of view of one of the characters of a book.
2) Second Person narration, where the narrator speaks to another character when telling the story.
3) Third Person narration, in which the narrator is either apart from the story or one of the supporting characters or an observer.
Only first person and third person are commonly used today. This is a big issue you need to address as the point of view affects the entire nature of you story. If you want the reader to feel more involved in the storyline you may choose first person, or if you can try the more traditional third person style to make your story more in the nature of a legend or epic saga.
The style and tone of the language is also a feature of this in terms of how the story is presented to the reader.
Are you going to follow a chronological order in your story, or do you want to play around with time? Sometimes a distortion of time will hook the reader’s attention and make them want to follow the story. For example, you could take an important scene that’s in the middle of your story line, and then follow with the beginning leading up that point to explain the events leading up to the first scene.
These are optional things you can think about when writing your story. They also help to convey the message of your story. Sometimes you can use a metaphor to represent the message. It isn’t necessarily given in a plain manner at the end of the story. It’s done in indirect pieces along the way, so that readers can come to the conclusion themselves through their own understanding of their message.
Decide on these aspects before you begin to write, as this will make you story more effective and worthwhile to read.
Written by David Hendricks
Image credit: lowjumpingfrog, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr