How to tell your story

Not only should you consider who is telling your story, but also how to tell your story. Or, what’s the narrative device? Is the narrator using letters as in The Screwtape Letters? Are they writing a story within a story? Is your narrator unreliable? Are the thoughts of every character displayed on the page for the whole world to see as in The Knife of Never Letting Go? Does the timeline play out in the order events occur?

Considering the Narrative Device before you start writing may help you figure your story out quicker. Steven Pressfield, for example, attributes the narrative device as the thing that makes his stories fall into place. 

When you’re writing a story, the choices you make should be intentional. You might get snippets of ideas that trickle out of your mind. Meanwhile, you’re waiting for the one to tip the bucket. Considering how you’re going to write the novel (screenplay, etc), is one method to help you discover your story. 

Setting Limits

A story give you complete control over an unlimited number of choices. Which is impossible to deal with as a person, let alone a writer. We need limits in order to choose. It’s how we’re wired. 

How you will tell your story might be dictated by the time and place of the story. Maybe how long the story lasts will help. Perhaps the characters themselves will dictate what they want their story to look like. 

For those of us not so lucky, we have to be conscious of what we put on the page and come back to it every day. Keep deciding what your story is. Keep writing. Show up every day and see what happens. 

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