Writing and Editing Your Story

by Virginia Lynch Graf, D. Min.

I. Start With An Idea & Outline

Most people have an idea for a story before they write. It may be as simple as finding a stray dog or getting lost downtown. The kernel of the story is ready to develop. The first thing you may want to do is sit quietly and let your imagination run with it. After you enjoy doing that, discipline yourself to form a simple outline.

Questions to ask may be:

Write out those answers on paper or on the computer. They may change or develop differently later but you now have a clear starting point.

II. Add Details

The next thing to do may be to add a few more details to the outline.

III. Make Your Story Interesting

You now have a full story outline. Your next questions may be how do I improve and develop it? How do I make it appealing and interesting to other readers? What literary form am I going to use? Is dialogue important?

Go back to the questions in Section II. Are there some details that I may add to the setting? Historic? Legendary? Poetic? Realistic? Humorous? Is the character believable? Are more details needed? Can the reader identify with the character? Are there other characters needed? How big a part do they play in the story? What characteristics shall they have? Is the plot believable? How well does it fit the literary style? Does the plot fit the setting? Is the solution clearly defined? What effect will the solution have on the reader?

IV. Edit Your Story

Editing has actually been taking place in an informal way as you followed your outline. Now you read it with a critical eye looking for misspelled words, incorrect usage, overuse of certain words, clarity. Have others read it and listen to their comments. Put it away for a few days. Re-read it and edit as you see fit. Time away from a manuscript usually gives a clear perspective and more objective evaluation.

Congratulations! You did it!

Go to the Vangar Homepage for Creative Writing Materials.

Go to Scriptito's Place - The Vangar Creative Writing Resource Center.

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