Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communicating information. It consists in the oral or written transmission of information or ideas on a given topic with the use of real characters or created for the needs of a story. From the earliest times, people eagerly listened to the stories, thanks to which they had the opportunity to expand their knowledge about the world. In secondary schools, it is used quite rarely, but it has a chance to appear at the matriculation examination every few years. How to write a short story.
What does the story consist of?
The story consists of static elements, which include heroes, places, objects, elements of the natural world, natural phenomena and many others, dynamic elements which include events (travel, conversation, meeting, etc.), the time presented in the story, and the space in which the story unfolds.
When writing short stories at school, you can distinguish short stories based on your own observations of the world and short stories based on reading. Often, the use of dialogue is also required in the stories. The stories can also be divided into recreational and creative. Reproductive stories are about telling the course of events that have been depicted in someone else’s story. Creative stories are based on the author’s experiences or fantasies, and may also depict events that the author has witnessed.
Dialogue is a quotation of the words spoken by the characters. The narrator then gives the voice to his protagonist, who can convey the information in his own words. The spoken words may not only take the form of a dialogue, i.e. a conversation between two people, but also the form of a monologue, where the protagonist speaks the words to himself. When writing dialogues, you can quote the conversation in its original form, relate its course or combine the narrator’s speech with the text of the characters’ statements. Quoting the conversation in its original form is based on the lack of intervention by the narrator in the way the characters say words, most often it is marked with dashes (less often in quotation marks), it is an example of an independent speech. The subordinate dialogue of the narrator’s utterance is a type of indirect speech, during which the literal wording of the characters’ statements is not quoted, they are included in the narrative course through the use of subordinate sentences. The dialogue included in the narrator’s speech is an example of apparently indirect speech, it is most often used in first-person narration. It consists in presenting your own way of thinking with a simultaneous presentation of the dialogue in which the main character participated.
Stories are usually based on a cause-and-effect sequence in which events occur chronologically, but this does not always have to be the case. The composition of the story may also be a juxtaposition of various events taking place in different places and seemingly unrelated to each other.
How to write a story step by step?
Depending on the story being presented, the shape of the story also changes. The permanent elements of an essay are introduction, development and conclusion. The introduction is a presentation of the hero and the world he lives in. It describes the time and place of action, as well as the main laws governing the imaginary world. The development is a description of all the events and adventures of the hero, it can take place after embarking on a journey or after a special event that occurs at the end of the introduction. The ending is the solution to the action, usually containing a punch line or moral that allows the reader to draw conclusions.
The dominant parts of speech are verbs that inform about events, where the hero is, what state he is in and what is happening to him. They indicate the movement and changes that are made in the world depicted. They most often appear in the grammatical past tense, usually they tell about the relationship between an event in the past and the current story. One can often encounter the entanglement of sentences in the present and future tense in the story, it performs a stylistic function and is aimed at reviving the narrative or reducing the distance between the world presented and the recipient. Perfect verbs are used more often than imperfective ones in order to make the story more credible.
What to look for when writing a short story?
Before you start writing, consider the course of events that will be portrayed. It is necessary to distinguish the main events and the secondary events that are subordinate to them. It is also worth considering the place or places where the events will take place – what it looks like, how many other people live there, who is in charge of it. The time of events and the depicted world should be taken into account – the scenery, other people’s habits, way of thinking and speaking will depend on the way in which the depicted world is constructed.
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The characters are the people who appear in the story. They create the action and the whole story is based on their actions. Each of them fulfills their role in the story, it is worth giving each character depth so that their function is not only based on being by the side of the main character or providing information.
- The protagonist or main or foreground characters are the people whose actions the story is based on. It is primarily their actions that are described during the essay and they decide about its course. The reader or listener gets to know him best, should be able to identify with him and become interested in his adventures and problems that he has to face.
- Side or secondary characters are people who accompany the main character or appear in the story. Their actions do not directly affect the story, but they can change the way of thinking and help the main character make decisions.
- Episodic heroes appear in the story for a moment and do not play a significant role in the story, but they are often people who push the action forward by providing information or prompting the main characters.
- Before writing a story, you should think about the narrative. The most popular narratives are first-person narratives and third-person narratives. The first-person narrative is about presenting events through the eyes of the protagonist, while in the third-person narrative the narrator is omniscient and describes the events “looking from above”.
- It is also worth considering the composition of the story and the way to interest the reader with your story. While writing stories, “fatal tricks” are used, which are aimed at maintaining contact with the reader? These are, for example, retardation (or delay of the action), introducing elements of mystery or an unexpected punch line.
It is also worth remembering about the ways of introducing dialogue into the story and about linguistic and stylistic correctness.
Vocabulary useful when writing a short story
Time sequence vocabulary: first; at the beginning; then; sequentially; in a minute; unexpectedly in a minute; after a while; moment; at last; soon; at the end.
Timing vocabulary: long ago; once; formerly; once; recently; yesterday; a few days ago; when the sun was shining / it was raining; since dawn; in the afternoon; at dawn; at sunrise; after dark; midnight
Vocabulary for the place of events: in “…”; on “…”, on “…”
Vocabulary increasing the dynamics of speech: suddenly; like a bolt from the blue; immediately; in a split second; unexpectedly violently; at the time
Vocabulary for speaking: say; take the floor ask; to continue; confirm; reply; cry out; ask politely; grunt stutter; utter; mumble something under one’s breath; mutter; stammer out; ask in an irritated voice; add firmly; express an opinion; interject
Vocabulary to describe the responses to speaking: bulging eyes; grin your teeth in a smile; to shrug; rub your hands; redden; mix; sigh; nod / shake your head; to frown; swallow saliva; be happy clench your thumbs / teeth
Formulating introductions: I will tell you a story / what happened to me; It was; long long time ago; someday; it happened; in day; it was an amazing adventure; once upon a time
Formulating endings: this adventure has taught me a lot; thanks to this event; this story made a great impression on me; I still remember; I’d like to experience it again.