You spent days in planning your story in your head. Then there was more time spent on researching and sequencing to make it more authentic. And finally hours and hours of writing and re-writing. Proudly, you sit back and give it one final read. And it hits you like that dark night storm – story is not good enough. You are struck by panic. Your breathing gets heavy. Story looks flat. But why? Where did you go wrong? You give yourself a break. Sleep on it. Only to realize after a day that something is terribly off. It’s all flat. It feel lifeless.
Does it sound familiar?
Were you able to come out of this distress successfully or did you just give up on writing despite having amazing ideas that could have been executed into masterpieces?
Are you trying to figure out why your writings are simply flat???
Well if you were just stuck in the rut then here is a quick solution for you to look into, next time when you are going to revise your draft:
You might have spent a lot of time on your main character and ignored the others. Or simply you haven’t portrayed any of your characters properly. All or more of your characters are flat and not round.
What do you need to do? Read good books, study how to write good characters and of course wait for my post on characters
You might have spent pages and pages of descriptions of surroundings and settings. Also you might have spent more time on the description of everything through metaphors and such flowery language.
What do you need to do? Read good books. Create a balance between description and action. Description of the setting must flow with the action and characters of the story.
Some people believe that dialogues are the only way to show how and what the characters have to say. They fill the pages and pages with dialogues. It all becomes more of a ‘dialogue writing’ than a story.
What do you need to do? Read good books. Study the use and importance of dialogues. A character can explain his intentions through his actions also.
Wrong choice of words
Do you keep on using the same word or expression again and again? Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils expressed HAPPINESS more than 5 times in different ways and without suing the word Happy once. This is how you are supposed to express yourself.
What do you need to do? Read good books. Use my book Word choices as a reference. Always remember to create variety in sentence length and structure. Do not overuse thesaurus.
Sometimes novice writers write just for the sake of writing. Understand the difference between different genres of writing. Rambling in a Facebook post is not a story. A story needs a proper beginning and ending. You can philosophize in articles or in your journals. It is important to give some purpose to your story. Can you sit in front of the screen for an hour if there is no purpose what is being shown? Same goes for your story.
What do you need to do? Read good books. Plan and outline your story before committing to write. The ending should be very clear as it helps to write and delineate the purpose of the story and characters.
As I said earlier, if there is no purpose then story can lack many vital elements one of which is suspense ad conflict. In essence story means drama and action. Without presenting a conflict in the lives of your characters and without creating a suspenseful atmosphere, you are actually writing a flat piece.
What you need to do? Read good books. Appropriately mix description and action. Use short and snappy sentences for action. Build a scene, describe it to create suspense.