Storytelling Is An Art

Don’t we enjoy reading a good book? If it doesn’t hold our attention, we usually lose interest, never picking that book up again. This concept should be just as important when writing our own manuscript. As writer’s we want to hold the reader from the beginning to the end. When a reader loves your book, they are inclined to tell others. Waiting with anticipation for the release of your next novel.

An essential writing technique in storytelling is Creating Suspense. How many books have you read until the wee hours of the morning? Not wanting to put the book down. Involving yourselves with the characters, as if you knew them on a personal basis. Have you taken time to watch people when you talk to them? If what you are saying is putting a glassy eyed look on their face, it’s a sure bet, they aren’t listening. Same concept goes for when you are writing your story. Anyone can write words on paper. It’s the emphasis a writer applies to grammatically correct sentences and interesting words, that makes the novel suspenseful to the reader.

Characters are the working force to storytelling. Without them, there isn’t anything to write about. Characters have an agenda following a goal. Put them in a situation where there is conflict. I like to call conflict, obstacles. The hero and heroine will work through the conflict; building on the obstacles, moving the plot along creating the necessary suspense. A book I have found helpful is “Building Believable Characters” by Marc McCutcheon. Great book for helping me develop my character charts.

Some writers have difficulty applying Conflict in their storytelling. Once our characters are developed, we as writers have established a relationship with them. The last thing we want to do is cause pain or discomfort towards them. Conflict makes the story worth reading. It provides the story with struggles, tension, choices the characters will have to make. Having opposing forces is what brings the internal and external conflicts to a height of the drama. If you touch the reader’s hearts at all levels of emotions, you’ve created the art of storytelling.

Storytellers must satisfy their readers with a Believable Ending. Characters should have their conflict reduced to a workable agreement. A twist of surprise at the ending will bring delight to the reader. Such as a traumatic event giving the character a chance to change. Romance storytelling is based on the hero and heroine resolving their differences in harmony. What the basic conflict was in the beginning of the story is now reflected to a happy ending.

Are you excited to be with your characters each day? Does your story hold your interest?



Pat Davids said...

I have to agree that writers often don't know what conflict really means. When I was told my story didn't have enough conflict, I gave my character more problems. Problems are only external conflict. The internal conflicts are the emotional roadblocks that keep the characters from falling in love.

Good storytelling can become great storytelling with practice. It really is like learning tennis. You have to have some innate talent, but only practice and competition will make you a force to be reckoned with.

snwriter52 said...

Pat, I don't think I'll take up tennis. As I child I loved playing baseball. When it was my turn to bat, the catcher stood a distance back. I had a habit of throwing the bat once I hit the ball. :)
Yes, conflict has many faces. The more we understand each element, we have a story to share.

Joan Vincent said...

I view conflict as a character's inner battle that competes with and enlarges external conflict. Inner battles almost always produce conflict externally. If a hero believes he is not good enough or cannot be trusted to love the heroine he's going to do everything in his power to avoid letting her know he loves her. His internal battle against his love or even admitting it and the external situations his efforts produce make for conflict.

A few of Jane Ann Krentz's Arcane Society series start with this premise. There was one (naturally I can't dredge up the title) where the hero thought his "power" was making him go mad and he was dangerous to the heroine.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Sharon! I love the anticipation of reading a great story that won't let you go. This weekend I've been enjoying a new release, Kindred in Death, by one of my fave authors, J.D. Robb. I have 70 pages left and can't wait to dive back in. :D

I love stories with strong internal conflict, but boy do I struggle with it in my own writing.

Starla Kaye said...

Storytelling is definitely an art and many writers have trouble understanding that. To create a good story you have to use a whole palet of "colors."

The "colors" include characters (main, sub, and villains), character backgrounds, internal and external conflicts, settings, sexual tension, ticking clock, character growth, etc. Each of these "colors" will have different levels of vibrancy, too, at different times in the story. Internal and external conflicts can be highly emotional, highly intense or fade a few shades with the ups and downs of the plot.

A good writer learns how to mix the right shades of these "colors" at the right times. She learns how to blend two element colors together to heighten a moment, such as mixing internal conflict and sexual tension. Or mixing internal and external conflicts with a fast approaching ticking clock deadline.

Paint your written picture well and you will have a beautiful story.

Nina Sipes said...

I know a great story when I'm reading it and re-reading it and then keeping it to read later again. I can't seem to see it for myself as I work on a piece. I know you all are quite right about all the elements a good story needs. I have the most difficult time recognizing any of them as separate elements in a story or finding a way to incorporate them in my work.

I was pretty excited once about something I'd read that resonated with me. I was full of enthusiasm, practically unable to sit still as I was describing it to another person who has read my stuff. I got the 'you're a dumbsh&*' look. Upon inquiry, the reader told me that I didn't need any of that. I already had it. So, maybe some of the most difficult thing to see is what our work has as opposed to others. I still angst. Maybe always will.