Decoding Writing Skills: 6 Ways to Be a Better Storyteller

“What does the soul truly want is the story”, Joseph Campbell wrote in his renowned work – “A Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The book became an inspiration for many storytellers around the world. One of the most notable has been George Lucas, whom it prompted to create his own modern myth – “Star Wars”. 

In his book, Campbell looks deep into the origins of storytelling and claims that stories have been vital to human beings to survive during the history of humanity. Today, far too many people don’t quite realize it, but every one of us is actually living proof that Campbell was not mistaken. 

Even if you’re not a fan of books and movies, you hear dozens of stories every day. They come from your friends and colleagues, relatives, or even casual acquaintances. And if the teller is talented enough, the story persists in your mind, evokes emotions, and feeds your brain. 

If you want to be that skillful storyteller who knows how to move people’s souls, impress them, and have a real impact – there’s a lot you need to learn. Here are just a few useful tips that can help you along the way. 

Get Inspired by Personal Experience 

Everyone has a story to tell. And you certainly do, too. Whether you’re trying to become a novelist or are focused on writing a college essay, don’t try to come up with something original right away. Instead, try to recollect your own experiences and get inspired by them. 

Even if you already have a specific topic, you can always find something about it that will relate to your personal experience. When you do, tell your own story. The truth is, most people love to hear personal stories much more than abstract ideas! 

Remember that there’s always an opportunity to incorporate your own experience into your narrative. For example, when you order an essay from an EssayPro, you can always provide your rough draft to the writer. One will include everything you need in the sample paper. 

Exercise Creative Thinking 

Stephen King in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” tells a story of how “Carrie”, his breakthrough novel, came to life. The idea of the opening scene came up to him when he was discussing girls’ shower rooms with a colleague. The thought of the need for privacy in girl’s rooms led to a recollection of an article on telepathy he read a while ago – and that was it! 

Was the connection that King created in his mind obvious? Probably not. But an experienced writer that he’d already been by that time was not only able to make that connection, but also to develop a whole novel from this single idea! 

The point here is if you also want to come up with brilliant ideas, notice the details. Learn to make logical connections between seemingly unrelated things. 

Make a Point

You’ve undoubtedly written some essays at school, so you should already know that every such paper is a finished work that has:

  • a beginning (introduction); 
  • a development (body paragraphs); 
  • a conclusion. 

In all these paragraphs, you try to prove your thesis statement that appeared in your introduction section. 

Here, your thesis statement is your main point, and you should always keep it in mind as you hold forth. With stories, it’s basically the same thing – there’s always the main idea that goes through as the leitmotif. Sometimes, this leitmotif is not an idea but a feeling, an atmosphere, or a mood. Whatever it is, it should always be presented in order for your narrative to not fall apart. 

Throw In a Conflict 

It’s also virtually impossible to make a good story without a proper conflict. The elevation or the downfall of any hero is always much more impressive when it comes after a great struggle, so it’s normal and even necessary to make your character go through many hardships. That’s what will make your readers relate and keep them engaged. 

If you want to take your stories to the next level, learn to make them unpredictable, too. Take, for example, Disney’s “Frozen”: who could have thought that the beautiful prince would turn out to be a deceiver? Had he been the traditional fairy-tale prince, would the tale be as engaging? Certainly not! 

Draft an Outline 

Even if you have a great idea, there’s no guarantee that it will develop into a great narrative. And though some writers prefer to go with the flow, it’s still better to draft an outline early on. Having an outline in the form of a bullet list with all the main plot twists will help you to not lose control of how your story unfolds and keep it consistent. 

It may also help to write a short summary of your story, especially if you’re writing something complex like a novel. And if you’re telling your tale orally, add some key sentences under each of the bullet points of your outline in order to not miss the most important parts. 

Know How to Use Your Tools 

Coming back to Stephen King’s book on writing, he emphasized the necessity of being able to use a writer’s “toolbox”. He compares it with an actual toolbox that his grandfather made by himself. It had three levels – the most commonly used tools are on the highest level, the least used ones are lower. 

Among such tools for a writer there are:

  • vocabulary;
  • grammar;
  • style;
  • form, and more.

The bigger your toolbox is and the better you know how to use everything that’s in it, the better you are able to convey your narrative. So, don’t spare time on filling in your box! 

Final Words 

Everyone has a story to tell – but only a few know how to do it properly. Becoming a great storyteller takes lots of time and practice, but there are proven ways how practically anyone can become better at this craft. 

Use our pieces of advice listed above to improve your skills and see how being a better storyteller will affect every aspect of your life! 

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