Tips On Bringing A Story To Life

bringing a story to life

How should a writer go about bringing a story to life?

A sense of authenticity helps. If the writer knows the location they’ve chosen to detail, for example, then their expertise on the climate, geography, population and social history of that area will shine through.

The location will also have a bearing on character interaction and dialect. How a character talks in England’s West Country will differ from someone who lives in the West Midlands.

There’s a certain truth to the saying “write what you know” — it’s familiar territory, and often benefits from a deeper knowledge and understanding.

But you don’t have to be a resident of a city or country in order to write about it.

Research has never been easier for today’s computer users, and local libraries can offer a wealth of information.

Movie Camera Eye

“Write as if you were a movie camera,” American writer John Gardner testified.

“Get exactly what is there. All human beings see with astonishing accuracy, not that they can necessarily write it down.”

Have fantasy writers ever seen a dragon? Or what about the sci-fi writers who vividly depict life on other planets — have they ever set foot in space?

Not likely.

But like Gardner’s running movie camera, they capture what they see in their imaginations.

For more writing tips, including on bringing a story to life, visit our Writing Tools pages.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.