Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tipful Tuesday: The Key to Writing a Memorable Story Is...

The key to writing a memorable, lasting, bring-the-reader-back-for-more story is:


Seriously. Our stories are best, the scenes flow, the characters are genuine when we insert the experiences from life rather than sit at the screen and attempt to create what happened next. Using these experiences will make the scene natural--and--it will intrigue, interest, and invite readers to want more.

Here's an example. Yesterday, I wrote this scene: younger adult brother arrives at older sister's house. He hasn't seen her in four years, and he didn't tell her he would visit. She opens the door. We are in his POV

To play the scene out, the worst I could do at this point is have the sister break into tears. Tears of joy, tears of memories. So happy to see him tears. etc. 

The second worst I could do to portray the scene is to have her ask a million questions. "What are you doing here?" "I didn't know you were coming? "How have you been?"etc.

Both of these would be expected. Have been done a million times. Reasons for readers to scan over the scene until something good happens.

Instead, I considered my own family dynamics. Four girls and one boy. I was an older sister to my brother. Being the perfect, wonderful person that I am, I couldn't possibly help this poor male character in this moment. BUT, I recalled MANY stories told by my husband. He, the younger brother of an older sister. Oh the tales he spun of his youth. The terrible sister, that he really loves. The horrible things she did, that he never retaliated for. Uh huh.

Yes, now I had great fodder for a humorous scene. She opens the door, and while projecting her absolute joy at his unexpected visit, she casts out the first insult, the kind only a sister shares with her brother while holding the door open for him. He returns the favor with brotherly harassing, picks up his suitcase and walks inside. In the muddled flinging of banter from days gone by, seasoned with grins and laughter, they greet each other and are now ready to move forward in the scene. Oh yes. This reads really well and hopefully leaves the reader feeling at home with these characters.

I've used my favorite childhood cake made by my grandmother who always ripped open the label in the store to read the ingredients. The cashier always wondered why she bought an open package. Grandma said the cake didn't taste as good when she didn't. See? 

When you sprinkle you into your stories, they will flow and be memorable. This, by the way is your voice. 

Your turn. Think of a memory from the past that could flavor a scene in your story. OR, tell one that you have used in a story already written. I'm excited to read them. :)

~Mary Vee
Photo by Mary Vee

Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Mary loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Andi Lutz said...

Say what already hasn't been done. I think we reach for the cliches because they are easy and we know they are right because we've read them a million times. But to write from the heart with what we've experienced is harded, but it reads better when done right.

Mary Vee Writer said...

So spot on. When we write from the heart, it not only reads better, we also reach the reader's heart.
Thanks for stopping by.