Closing Loopholes: How To Tighten Your Story Line

A good story has several elements that keep a reader engaged and curious. Once in a while, however, a good story is marred by undeveloped story lines that have nothing to do with the overall thrust of the story and are not brought to satisfactory conclusions. This confuses readers and undermines even the best of stories. Here are a few techniques an author can use to ensure that all ends are tied.

1. Outline: Even a very short story, often called a short short, needs to be developed with a beginning, middle, and end. An outline keeps characters and story in harmony and prevents tangents when writing. Young writers, such as school children, often have vast imaginations but underdeveloped abilities. They may have ten characters doing twelve different things and call it a story. As they learn to write, they begin to organize and bring characters and story into a unified whole. As adult authors we must do the same. 포커사이트

2. Have a reason for being. Every character or concept should have their place and part in the story. Avoid introducing characters that are not integral, and avoid letting integral characters go off on unnecessary tangents. Think purpose. Why do they do what they do? And, what will be the outcome of what they do? Tie those together and you will have a tightly woven tale.

3. Orson Scott Card talks about the “What If” game. A way to frame a story is to ask things such as: What if a character thinks a certain thought? What if they act on their thoughts? What if someone strongly objects? What if a serious conflict breaks out? What if it escalates? What if they can never find common ground? These examples are just a few of the many “What Ifs” an author can employ. Using them does a beautiful job of outlining and framing a story. Once done, populating the story with characters and actions is not terribly difficult.

4. Think Win Win. No matter what you choose to do with your characters, bad or good, think about the reader and how they will perceive what is happening. They will want a story that keeps them interested, so avoid taking them off track with unrelated content. This is an author’s duty, in a sense, and understanding that a reader will keep reading because they are intrigued by the characters and their experiences will really assist us in creating a compelling tale that stays on target. As authors we win because we create a unique and interesting tale. Our readers win because they enjoy our creations.


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