Not all stories are meant to be stories.
Some can just be a random fact, a fun fact, a fact of the day. And as a matter of fact, not all stories are meant to have a moral or a clever catchy ending. My professor at the Master’s used to say that, when writing a story, the subject can be whatever – like your grandma cooking spaghetti – as long as you can make that subject a something that people can universally feel.
Also, to bear in mind: never start with the title! A story (or a fact) is like a sugar container: you need to turn it upside down to get sweetness out of it. Simply put, always start from the end! If you know where you’re aiming, you can better develop a story and be consistent with what you’re willing to share. It’ll be easier then to assign a nice and coherent title to that article. But let’s dig deeper.
How to write good stories?
Mmm… Can’t really say, I’m not good at writing. But usually, if the readers can understand what I’m personally writing about, well, that is how I do it.
What’s the first step of writing?
For me, analysis. Complex scientific experiments are conducted on people and objects every day. Then I measure results and extract accurate stats from…
Nah!… I look around. I look at the details that surround me: I separate the morning sleepy expressions from the actual feelings, isolate them and try to interpret (not that I have anything else to do while on the tube, so this is good entertainment).
Speaking of tips for writing – and assuming that I’m entitled to give any – get some more hereafter.
Please don’t get too emotional!
Of course you need to feel something while writing – you don’t want a set of cold words mechanically assembled together, do you?! And if you don’t feel them in the first place, others won’t either. Just be smart when you do! Don’t get too sentimentally attached to your articles and don’t only be tragic or melodramatic. Go wider!
Don’t be too articulate.
Don’t use words and hermetic sentences that only specific elite groups of people can decode and understand. It’s useless. Make it easy!
When you’re describing something (a feeling for example) it must be a part of a bigger thing, a bigger happening, a bigger situation. For everyone. In fact, a universal feeling is not hard to find: love, sadness, pride, fear, or the Incubus playing Drive in my earphones in this moment. The description just follows straight, as long as it’s clear and, above all, sincere. However, as big as that feeling might be, go capture that something, that detail that not everybody will notice: that one will be your gimmick. Then stop the description and detour the story with a groundbreaking plot twist! Try to get at least one to give the story an unexpected direction, a direction that will impress the reader. That new direction will be your resolution: the moment when you let people empathize. A process that I like to call Personification.
So, along with what previously said, how would you describe your love for something or somebody? Maybe start searching for the most adjacent words/adjectives to love and then go dig in your personal love experiences to come up with a good match. Do they collide or align? Either way, you’ll have an interesting match for the story.
I’d like to give an example but I’m not good at writing.
Ok, fuck it!… For instance, I love writing. I really do. It’s the only way for me to express all the things that I couldn’t say face to face; all the inner thoughts, all the secrets that I have carefully been hiding. Not kidding, it’s real love.
Now how I would describe love.
Adjacent words to love (for me): magnetic, spell, coincidence, addiction, mind, gravity, experience, instinct, safeguarding, fearing, forgive, survive.
How I would match them:
She. The most beautiful and magnetic creature I’ve ever seen – her perfume, her scent, her body, her skin. I was literally enchanted by her spell while my fingers were designing her shapes. We were there and no, the world wouldn’t stop but actually started spinning faster. So much faster that the terrestrial axis would incline to make that wonderful coincidence happen.
We had just run out of Ferrero Rochers when the dawn illuminated that room awakening my addiction, my insane craving for those lips. And every kiss caused a feeling of sudden gravity that lightly pushes upwards.
Oh, her damn mind. That complicated and escape-less Alice-in-Wonderland’s maze, that unbeatable Rubik’s cube with no matching colours.
Her movements, her gestures, her voice were the experience that you wish you would live every single day.
The fact is though, that nobody wants to suffer, nor would I, and it’s known that after the most serious illnesses, heartbreaks are the most painful diseases.
And I just feel like can’t love.
One day, long before I met her, all the let-downs and cheating that my dearest and beloved people had reserved for me turned my feelings into a cold and rational instinct that made me keep the distance from any possible relationship. And the more you stay away from relationships, the more inert you become – you whither. And then it’s only about safeguarding yourself. Nothing else exists but an unstable personality that only alcohol can balance.
At some point you are alone. And loneliness fucking kills!
Everything stands still though until you start fearing; until you realise that you don’t want to have to face situations, that you don’t want to grow up.
And then you just think this through, take a cold shower and man up. You need to forgive yourself, you understand me?! FORGIVE YOURSELF YOU STUPID IDIOT!
Look at me, shit, LOOK AT ME: will you die or survive for her? ANSWER!…”
See, despite the descriptive sentences above, this is not to be called a story. This is just a fact, a detail, a something that happened one day. And as a matter of fact, it didn’t last. A story would have its time, its places, its characters, its development. This one instead is just a random mix of various elements; it lacks a moral and a clever catchy ending.
It’s just a fact: as not all stories are meant to be stories.
I really love writing and honestly…oh, fuck it!… I have loved that girl. So why the hell didn’t I just tell her? Again, I’m not good at saying things face to face.
Why didn’t I simply write it down then?
… I did screw up: I’m not good at writing.