How to Write a Story

How to Write a Story: Setting Part One

Hello, everyone! How has your week been? Mine has been pretty nice since I had Monday and Tuesday off from school. Good news, we’re almost to the weekend! One more day!

This week, I’m going to continue our series on how to write a story that will captivate your readers and persuade them to keep reading. I will give you some tips on how to decide on your setting.

What is the Setting?

So, basically, the setting is where and when the story takes place. Here are some questions to ask yourself to spark your imagination.

  • When is your story set?
  • Where is your story set?
  • What are the traditions and culture of this place?

When?

The first thing you’ll want to think about for this part is whether your story is going to be in the past, present, or future. Now, you may have some idea of when you want your story to take place since you’ve already done some planning. But if you still need to decide, keep reading!

Take a moment to think about your plot. Is there a particular time it needs to be? Does your story have horse-drawn carriages, or is your main character driving a flying car? The horse-drawn carriage would be in the past (maybe 1800s) while the flying car would obviously be from the future.

Now you should start thinking about what year(s) your story will take place in. After you’ve decided, glance over your plot and make sure it all fits in.

Where?

You probably already have some idea where you want your story to take place. Here are the main categories to choose from.

  • The city or town that you live in
  • A made up fantasy world
  • A different part of the country that you live in
  • A country other than the one you live in.

Now I’ll go ahead and list the pros and cons of each category.

If you chose the city that you live in, great! You won’t have to do much research (unless your story is in the past). You already know what everything looks like, and you can describe it beautifully.

If you made up your own world, that is going to be both easy and hard. Don’t let me discourage you because this is quite the adventure! You get to decide the culture and traditions and the descriptions. This will take you on an amazing journey! You’ll never be bored! But this option is also a little time-consuming and hard. Yes, it takes time to think about everything. You’ll have to think about so many things, and I should know because this is the type of setting that I’m using in my story.

If you chose a different part of the country you’re in, it should be interesting. (For example, I live in the U.S., so I could choose a different state instead of the one I live in.) Since you are still choosing the country you live in, you won’t have to do that much research.

If you chose a completely different country than where you are, you are in for a trip! You’ll get to learn all sorts of new things and get to incorporate them into your writing. But this will also be super time-consuming which isn’t good if you are still in school. Even if you are out of school, but you have a job, this might not be a good idea.

Until Next Time…

Next week (February 21) I will be doing a part two post on what I talked about today. How is your story planning going? Are you having trouble choosing a setting or are you all set? If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Thank you so much for reading! Happy writing!

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Updates

Update

Hello, friends! I just wanted to let you know that school has been pretty hard this week, so I am going to postpone my next post to next Thursday (14th). See you then! 😀

Monthly Recaps

Monthly Recap: January

So, for me January passed in a flash. I can’t believe it’s already February! Well, I guess I’ll get started.

Bullet Journaling

The only new thing I did in my bullet journal this month was my stress tracker and Doodle-A-Day. They didn’t turn out very well because it was hard to stay caught up. Maybe I’ll do better next month.

I did my weekly log the same way I did it in December.

Goals

My goals for this month… Well, I didn’t really reach all of those. But you know what? It’s okay, because we have another month to try again. Start fresh!

My goals for this month are:

  • Drink more water.
  • Write more.
  • Exercise more.
  • Stay caught on school, bullet journaling, and devotions.

How are you going to start fresh for this month? Let me know in the comments!

Books

This month, I finished book five of The Chronicles of Narnia, and I am now in the middle of book six. I didn’t have a lot of time to read this month.

Writing

This month I got some planning done for my book and also a few chapters written. Not that much.

And now… I saved this as best for last…

My Story of the Month

Last but definitely not least… my story of the month! (I didn’t get any requests for what to call this section, so I had to come up with something… let me know in the comments if you can think of anything to call it!) My favorite story that I wrote this month was one on grief. Yes, it is sad, but it really helps you improve your writing. And, without further ado…

Tori wasn’t sure how much more she could handle. The grief was overtaking her; she couldn’t think. She swabbed at her now mascara-streamed eyelids with a tissue. She couldn’t understand what the pastor was saying- whether it was because of the sobs echoing from her aunt sitting beside her, or because she was in shock, she wasn’t sure.

Tori quickly stood up and pushed through the aisle. She rushed to the bathroom where she locked herself in the biggest stall. She leaned against the wall, sitting on the ground.

As she let her tears roll down, she allowed the memories of the two people she had been trying to forget for the past few days zoom through her mind.

The last time Tori had talked to her mom was the first flashback. She saw herself yelling at her mom and then running down the hall and slamming her bedroom door. Guilt surged through as she watched herself stick her tongue out from behind the closed door.

The next memory was when Tori had been telling her dad goodbye when he was leaving for work. She watched him wave and close the door, locking it behind him.

Sourness filled her stomach as more memories poured in, mostly she and her mom fighting. She couldn’t believe she had spent so much time fighting. And now that her mom was gone for good, she regretted it even more.

Most of her memories of her dad were of math homework. Dad had been a math and science whiz while Mom had been good in writing and grammar.

The one memory she still couldn’t allow herself to watch kept resurfacing. But she’d continue to push it away. It was the worst memory she’d ever had: the memory of the car crash. The car crash where her parents had died.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Comment and let me know of what you thought! Next week (February 7), I’ll do another post on our writing series (How to Write a Story). See you then!

How to Write a Story

How to Write a Story: Characters

Hello, friends! This week, I’m going to continue our new series on how to write a story by giving you tips on how to create your characters.

For your materials, you will need the following:

  • The notes you took on your plot,
  • More paper,
  • Pen/pencil of your choice,
  • And a quiet place to sit.

Ready? Then let’s go!

Main character

The main character is usually the protagonist. The protagonist is the one character that the story focuses on. I’m guessing that while you were thinking about your plot last week, you kind of got a glimpse of your main character. Right now, I want youto start thinking about these details:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Appearance

For your gender, you have two choices (obviously), but make it appropriate for your story. Remember that as you’re thinking about the ages as well.

For the appearance of your character, be creative! Here aresome things to ponder:

  • Hair color
  • Hair style
  • Eye color
  • Skin color
  • Clothing
  • Body type

Now it’s time to think of details. Think about your character and how he/she fits into the story. Will he/she need to be brave? How about bold? I’ll give you another method to try for coming up with characteristics at the end of this post.

Now, try to make a sketch of your character, even if it’s just a stick figure. As you’re doing this, start thinking about names (gender appropriate, of course!). Make a list of names that you might like to try. Lookup the meanings and see if they could be relevant to your storyline. Also, you need to make sure that you really know your character; that’ll help you write easily.

Other Characters

Now, to do this, you will need to refer to your plot. Go through your story, thinking about what other characters will be needed. When you’ve decided, make a list of the necessary characters, and then fill out their characteristics just like you did with your main character.

Getting to Know Your Characters

This is a tip that I got from another author that I love (Nancy Rue). Hang in there, because this may sound a little weird. For this project, you’ll need only two things:

  • An empty journal,
  • And a pen/pencil of your choice.

You are going to use this empty journal to write letters to your characters. This is so you can really get to know them. Your first entry should look like something like this:

          Dear (your character’s name),

I really want to get to know you so I can write you the correct way. I want to know everything that might help me get to know you, so we can be friends. Thanks for helping me!

                   (Your name)

And then, write yourself back as your character. The first time I did this, I totally thought I was crazy to try it. But, surprisingly, it actually helped. It’s an awesome way to get to know your characters. By the time you’re done, you’ll be BFFs!

Well, that’s all for this week. Next week I’ll be doing my Monthly Recap. If you have a request for a post in this series, let me know in the comments, and I will definitely consider it. Thanks for reading!

How to Write a Story

How to Write a Story: Plot

Hello, friends! This week, I’m going to start a new series: how to write a story. Whether it be a short story, a novel, or just a paragraph for school, I’m going to give you the basic ideas. Today, we’re going to talk about plot, which might be the hardest or easiest part- it depends on how you look at it.

The plot is the main event or conflict of the story. A conflict is any struggle that your characters go through. It could be anything from fighting a dragon to finding a new best friend. Use your imagination!

Building the Plot

So, to build the plot, you need a few materials.

  1. Pencil or pen of your choice,
  2. Paper or notebook,
  3. Somewhere comfy too sit (but not so comfy you’ll fall asleep!),
  4. And your imagination!

Now that you’re sitting somewhere comfortable with a pen/pencil in your hand, let your imagination run wild.

The first thing you want to think about is the genre of your story. Here are some examples. I’ll go into detail on each of these.

  • Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Mystery
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Adventure
  • Thriller
  • Drama

Fantasy: This is a book where everything is possible! Dragons, princesses, princes… Almost anything you can think of. You think it, you create it.

Historical Fiction: This is a book that takes place in the past that is fiction. It’s realistic, but it is also not true.

Fiction: Any story that isn’t true. It can be completely bozo, or realistic.

Nonfiction: This is (you guessed it!) the complete opposite of fiction. Everything you read in one of these books is completely true. Usually these books are informational.

Mystery: Ever read Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes? Yep, that would be a mystery. A mystery is a story where the author leaves out certain details and only leaves clues so you can try to guess the ending. Usually, there’s a twist near the end.

Romance: Ah. Your classic girl-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love story. Romance happens when two characters love each other- whether they both know they’re in love or not.

Science Fiction: I’m not really sure if I’ve ever really read a book in this genre, but basically, it’s a made up story that’s based on scientific fact and conjecture.

Adventure: This is the book that is filled with action. Usually the main character goes on a journey to discover him/herself or to fight off a villain.

Thriller: This is an action-packed story that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Usually they’re very scary- sometimes they’re mysteries.

If you’re having trouble choosing your genre, then just take a few days off. Maybe when you come back, you’ll have no trouble choosing.

Now that you’ve chosen your genre, it’s time to start thinking about your main conflict. What is the main problem that your main character must face? Got it? Now, which type of conflict is it?

  • Man vs. Man (Example: A character experiencing bullying in school)
  • Man vs. Himself (Example: A character experiencing grief from a death from someone close to them)
  • Man vs. Nature (Example: A character is stranded on a desert island)
  • Man vs. A Force Greater Than Himself (Example: A character is fighting off a dragon to save the princess)

So now that you’ve got the main event that usually happens in the middle of the story (climax), you need to start planning out what happens in the beginning and end of your story.

First comes the inciting incident, which is the event near the beginning that hooks your reader. Maybe it’s an encounter with the school bully, or maybe the noble knight learns he must go on an adventure.

Now, you can plan all the way up to the climax. Then, you can plan all the way until the ending.

For the ending, you have to choose what kind of ending you want to do. First, you could do a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger is when you leave your readers with several questions, or a scene that leaves them gritting their teeth, pulling their hair out or crying out of frustration. The other kind is, well, it leaves you with a nice peaceful scene that leaves no questions.

Let me know if this post was helpful.

Well, that’s all for today, my readers! Thanks for reading!

Monthly Recaps

Monthly Recap: December

Time for another recap where I share the books I read last month, bullet journaling tips, and how far I got in my writing.

Books

At the beginning of this past month, I decided to read through The Chronicles of Narniaby C.S Lewis. So far, I have read up to the middle of book five, and I really love it!

The reason why I like this series is because it really lets me escape. That is also why I love other fantasy series (Harry Potter and Keeper of the Lost Cities). They are the type of books that just pull you away. Your eyes are scanning over the words, but you don’t see them. All you see are the pictures that your brain forms based on the wonderful descriptions. I think it’s one of the best things in the world. Anyway, back to this post. After I finish reading this series, I might post a review.

Bullet Journaling

Last month, I didn’t really do anything new in my bullet journal, but I am this month. Read this previous post to read about my new pages in my bullet journal.

Writing

Unfortunately, I was very busy this month with Christmas and exams. So I didn’t have much time to write. I did have a little time, so I did start writing book two of the series I’m writing. And I did come up with a new book idea, so I guess this month wasn’t too bad.

Something New…

So, next month in my monthly recap, I’m going to add something new. At the beginning of each week in January, I’m going to start writing a short story or poem. I’ll continue to work on it throughout the week until it’s finished. Then, at the end of the month, I’ll choose one to share on this blog. What should I call it? My Story of the Month? The Chronicles by Corinne Johnson? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Well, next week I should be back on schedule. See you next Thursday!

Bullet Journal, New Year- 2019

Your 2019 Bullet Journal

Hello, everyone! It’s coming whether you’re ready or not. Why not be ready? Join me as I list out helpful bullet journal tips for the upcoming New Year. 

Here’s how I’m going to do this. For each section, I’ll list how you can use it, what mine looks like, and then tips. 

Monthly Log

Okay, so this page can be really helpful. This is where you can list out all of your upcoming events. You can use as many details as you want! 

At the top of my Monthly Log page, I have a calendar that goes about halfway down the page. Then, I have a section for notes about each event. At the very bottom, I have a section for goals for that month (more on goals later). 

As for tips, use this to your advantage! The next time someone asks if you are doing anything on Saturday night, pull out your bullet journal and check!

Weekly Log

Your Weekly Log is the place to be productive! You can list out goals for the week, track your habits, look ahead at the next week, and list out things to do. 

On my Weekly Log pages, I have the left page divided into sections for a mini calendar, notes, goals, a habit tracker, weather forecast for the week, and a quote. On the right page, I have a small section for each day. 

This is your most productive page. Try to use it to help you get things done. 

Mood Log

This is the page where you can track your moods. Tracking your moods can help you realize why you might feel anxious, angry, or sad on certain days. Then you can come up with a technique to not feel angry or anxious or sad. 

For my Mood Log, I have numbers 1-31 down the side, and the months January-December across the top. This way I can track my moods for an entire year. 

Weather Log

I only did this page in my bullet journal for fun. The only purpose is to track the weather. 

I did my Weather Log page the same way I did my Mood Log: numbers 1-31 down the side and months January-December across the top. 

As for tips, I suggest you have fun with this page. Use this page to try out fun headings and de-stress. 

Habit Log

Okay, this is where you can track all of the habits you want to start doing or keep doing. 

I usually do this on my Weekly Log. I put the days of the week across the top and my habits down the side. 

Doodle/Stress Log 

This is something that I’ve seen other people do that I’m going to try. This is a space where you can set up a space for each day to do a doodle. 

I did this across two pages, and basically, I just did a space for each day in January. I decided to also use this as a stress log, so for each doodle section, I’ll use a symbol to show how stressed I was. 

Sleep Log

This is where (you guessed it!) you can track your sleep hours. 

For my sleep log this month, I am going to draw snowflakes falling down the page. Each snowflake will be a different color according to how many hours I slept. 

I love doing different pages for my sleep log. Have fun with this page! 

And that’s all I have for today. Comment and tell me what you’re doing in your bullet journal for this coming new year!

My next post will be Thursday, the tenth. I’ll be doing my December monthly re-cap. See you then!