By Melissa Kitson @mnkitson
Most of us do not have the luxury of ready-made blockbuster stories. Our stories are likely to be quieter ones, without pirates, femme fatales or epic adventures. But this does not mean they have to be boring. It just means we have to work a little harder.
While not all stories are interesting, there are always interesting ways to tell them. Calling upon the techniques of a good storyteller will transform even the drabbest of narratives into a moving and engaging tale of intrigue.
Here are some points to remember.
Drama is in the details
Details bring a story to life. They give it texture and vitality. When writing a story, sink into each seemingly dull moment and find the points that make it real, relatable and unique to your perspective. Is it the arctic air-conditioning at a press conference? The flaking bits of glitter on corporate Christmas card? The raucous chortle of a manager? Paying attention to such details will stop a story from becoming generic and make it a real human experience.
Great characters make great stories
Well-developed characters give colour and momentum to a story. If you can successfully create a character that engages the reader, it will not matter that your story lacks Hollywood action. A compelling character will draw the reader in on their journey, be it to the supermarket or to Middle Earth. Remember too that great characters do not have to be big characters. What’s important is that you invest time in creating real characters – characters that are complex, compelling and three-dimensional.
Interesting voice = interesting story
A captivating narrator, be it first-person or omniscient, hooks the reader in. They lift a story from the mundane to the moving, bringing insight, humour and personality. Just think of famous narrators like Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye), Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Sal Paradise (On the Road). These narrators transformed (albeit interesting stories) into staples of the literary canon. In bringing a story to life, think first about who is telling your story and how this voice could add greater nuance.