Narrative Techniques for Storytellers

narrative techniques

Find out how narrative techniques can improve the stories you write!

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter ten: “Literary Devices and Narrative Techniques.” Enjoy!

Writers use literary devices to convey or illustrate thoughts, ideas, and images or to strengthen their prose. Narrative techniques are a subset of literary devices that are specifically used in narrative writing. Both literary devices and narrative techniques occur naturally in writing but are also used intentionally. Learning about the many literary devices and narrative techniques that are available will add weight to your writer’s toolbox. Read More

Storytelling: Writing Chapters and Scenes

writing chapters and scenes

Writing Chapters and Scenes.

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter nine: “Chapters, Scenes, and Sequences.” Enjoy!

Chapters, scenes, and sequences are structural units of storytelling. These are the basic blocks of a story that contain all other elements, from characters, plot, and setting to action, dialogue, and description. Read More

Writing Description in Fiction

description in fiction

Tips for writing description in fiction.

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter eight: “Description and Exposition.” Enjoy!

Without description, readers wouldn’t be able to visualize what’s happening in a story. We need to see the setting and the characters. Because there are no visuals in prose, writers must use words to describe a story’s visual elements in a way that helps readers see the story playing out in their minds. Read More

Action and Dialogue in Storytelling

action and dialogue

Action and dialogue in storytelling.

Today’s post is an excerpt from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter seven: “Action and Dialogue.” Enjoy!

Action and dialogue are the wheels that carry a story forward. The easiest way to imagine action and dialogue in written narrative is to think of a movie. When characters onscreen do things, that’s action. When they talk, that’s dialogue. Most of a story’s momentum is contained in action and dialogue.

You may have heard the old writing adage, “show, don’t tell.” It’s one of those sayings that becomes blatantly obvious once you get it. Readers want to see what’s happening. Characters walk and talk. They kick and punch and scratch. They cry and laugh, run and hide. They do things and say things. That’s how story happens: through action and dialogue. Read More

Narrative Point of View in Storytelling

narrative point of view

What’s your narrative point of view?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter six: “Narrative Point of View.” Enjoy!

The terms story and narrative can be used interchangeably, meaning a sequence of events, real or fictional, that are conveyed through any medium ranging from prose to film. However, when we talk about narrative, we’re often referring to the structural nature or presentation of a story, the manner in which it’s told. Read More

Literary Style in Storytelling

literary style

What’s your literary style?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter five: “Narrative Style, Voice, and Tone.” Enjoy!

Literary style is the aesthetic quality of a work of literature—the distinct voice that makes each author unique. It’s the way we string words together, the rhythm of our prose, the catchphrases that pepper our language.

Literary style includes every element of writing in which an author can make stylistic choices from syntax and grammar to character and plot development. Read More

What is the Theme of a Story?

What is the theme of a story

What is the theme of a story?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter four: “Theme.” Enjoy!

What is the Theme of a Story?

Theme is one of the most difficult story elements to understand. Often confused with plot, theme is actually a worldview, philosophy, message, moral, ethical question, or lesson. However, these labels, taken alone or together, don’t quite explain theme in fiction. Read More

Fiction Writing: The Setting of a Story

setting of a story

How important is the setting of a story?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter three: “Setting.” Enjoy!

Setting may not seem as critical to a story as character or plot, yet it is a core element of storytelling and for good reason. The setting of a story helps us understand where and when it takes place, which gives the story context. If the audience doesn’t have a sense of setting, they’ll feel lost and confused (sometimes that might be the author’s intent).

The Setting of a Story

A setting can be big or small. It can be a made-up world—a massive galaxy with multiple star systems and inhabited planets—or it can be a single room—four walls and a ceiling. Read More

Storytelling: What is a Plot?

what is a plot

What is a plot?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter two: “Plot.” Enjoy!

What is a Plot?

A plot is a sequence of related events in a story.

Plot usually centers around the protagonist’s primary goal or challenge, the central story problem. Each event in the story pushes the protagonist toward a climax where they either succeed or fail to resolve the story problem. In a mystery, the challenge might be to solve a crime. In a romance, the goal is to find true love. Read More

Creating Characters That Resonate

creating characters

Creating characters for compelling stories.

Today’s post is an excerpt from the book What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing. This is from chapter one, “Characters.” Enjoy!

Creating Characters

We see ourselves in a story’s characters. We see people we know—people we love, people we hate, people we fear, and people we want to emulate.

We love characters, loathe them, judge them, take their sides, or stand in opposition to them. We cheer them on and boo them. We celebrate them, and sometimes we mourn them. We form relationships with them, even though they’re just figments of some storyteller’s imagination.

Characters are the heart and soul of a story. We care about a story only to the extent that we care about its characters. In order for us to connect with characters, they need to do more than move the plot forward. Characters require depth and complexity. Who are these characters? What do they want? Why do they want it? What’s standing in their way? Realistic characters come with all the flaws, quirks, and baggage that real people possess. They’re not just names on a page; they have pasts and personalities, and each one is unique. Read More