Once you have an idea for story, the next step is to decide how you’re going to tell that story.
I’ve ended up using two very different ways of telling a story for my first two novels. The Second Love Of My Life, which was published last year is written from the first person perspective of my main character Rose. It’s also written using present-tense. The reason I chose this style was because I knew from the very start that the novel was about Rose’s journey as she tried to move on from the sudden death of her childhood sweetheart and husband. I wanted readers to really be inside her head and heart, to feel her grief and pain, and be there as she rebuilt her life. It’s an intimate voice. I lived Rose’s life with her as I wrote the book, and I hope readers do the same when they read it.
When it came to write my second book Random Acts Of Kindness, which is being published as a four part serial, I knew I needed more than one main character. Firstly, I had four parts to write and to keep the readers interest, I needed lots of twists and turns plus I wanted to include as many Acts Of Kindness through the story as I could, and I felt this would work better with a larger cast of characters.
I ended up creating three very different characters. I wanted each of them to have a different relationship to kindness so they could each go on a journey and discover how kindness had the power to change their lives.
This meant writing in the third person but we keep a close proximity to each character and chapters follow a particular point of view. This is because I love readers really getting into my character’s heads and hopefully feeling everything that they feel right alongside them.
Deciding how to tell your story is important. You want to tell it in the best way you can, you want to draw your reader in and not let them leave, and to make them feel something as a result of reading it. Above all the style you choose needs to work for your story and your characters.
My novels appear to be written very differently but I hope both are heart-warming and life-affirming. The latest publishing buzz word is “up-lit” which I really like because I want my writing to be up-lifting, no matter how I choose to tell the story. It’s also fun to try out different styles and it’s always a challenge when you use a different way of telling a story so your writing always stays fresh.
How do you decide how you want to tell a story?
1 thought on “How Do You Choose How To Tell A Story?”
Some stories are pretty obvious from the start. Most of what I write is mysteries, and my detective has a “Watson” who tells the stories. But not all of the stories work that way, and then I have to find other ways. There was a love story once that was so understated that no third person could tell it (the other characters in the story weren’t even aware that it was going on) so for that I had to go to third person limited.
Stories tell you how to tell them — you just have to learn to listen and be willing to give up on any preconceived ideas you might have.