Readers love an entertaining story, but stories can serve an even greater purpose. Storytelling is a powerful tool for helping readers think critically, learn information, and feel connected to the experience of others. Writers of every genre can use storytelling skills to strengthen their message and writing.
If you’re not accustomed to using stories in your writing or want to strengthen your storytelling skills, the following tips will help you write stories that stick.
An engaging story is winsome, interesting, and seeks some commonality with the reader. This doesn’t mean that your story has to be lighthearted, but it does need to engage the reader in a compelling way. Something interesting needs to happen to capture their attention. Let your humanity shine through, and be sure to tell your story as truthfully as possible. Even if your story is fictional, it has to resonate with reality and connect with the human aspect of storytelling too.
Are you feeling stuck in your writing? Do you need a creative nudge to put your pen to paper? Writing prompts might be the solution you need to kick-start your writing this month. A writing prompt can take the form of an image, a photograph, a single word, or a thought-provoking question — the options are endless.
The beauty of engaging with prompts is that there is no right or wrong way to use them. We can shape and reshape prompts to keep us consistently putting words on the page.
Read on to discover three benefits of incorporating prompts into your writing practice.
Getting started is often the hardest part of writing. We’ve all stared at a blank screen for excessive amounts of time and wondered how to fill it. Prompts give writers a place to start. They allow us to use our writing time more effectively by eliminating the question of what to write. By offering a fixed starting point, writing prompts help us to...
Are you a writer who feels drawn to experiment with poetry, but you feel intimidated? The language and formality of the form can keep many would-be poets from giving it a try. However, prolific poet and artist Morgan Harper Nichols believes poems can be short, conversational, and crafted from everyday language.
If you’d like to give poetry a try, Morgan suggests paying attention to what’s happening around you and to the words you’re already writing. Poetic words and ideas are embedded in your life and your existing work. It’s simply a matter of finding them.
Let’s write a poem! The following three steps will help you find the poem hiding in your writing.
You’re a writer, and like most writers, you likely have a lot of work sitting in notebooks or on your computer. You’re going to create a poem from the words and stories you’ve already crafted on the page. Choose a piece you love, one that touches on your...
In a world of information overload, it’s normal for writers to wonder if our words matter or if we’re simply adding to the overwhelm and noise. It’s easy to feel discouraged and wonder if we should keep writing when it seems like so many writers do it better than us, have a larger readership than us, or have a more established online presence.
All of those things might be true, but here’s the thing: No one can tell your story the way you do. No one else has your life experience, your wisdom, your training, your personality, your humor, or your particular zone of genius. If you want to write words that matter, filter them through your unique worldview and your experiences.
At hope*writers, we believe your hopeful words matter, regardless of how many writers share a similar storyline, topic, or message. There are enough readers for every writer, and there are readers who need to read words written from your perspective.
It can be difficult to define what a writer’s voice is, much less figure out what your unique voice is in your writing. Essentially, your voice is what you sound like on the page. It’s what makes your writing unique to you and recognizable to a reader. It includes your style and tone, which are shaped by your perspective. Your voice is not the words you write, but how you write them.
“Whenever I think of the writer’s voice, I think of who I am or who we are as writers at our very core. The truest form of our heart, our expression, our passion, our skills, everything about us authentically put before another human being as an offering.” — Ashlee Eiland
Some writers simply say that you’ll know your voice when you find it, but at hope*writers, we believe there are concrete steps you can take to develop a consistent voice in your work. These five tips will help.
When serving as a fiction judge for the Christianity Today Book Awards, the number one skill author Sarah Arthur looks for in a winning writer is great writing. The definition of “great writing” is, of course, subjective, but as avid readers and writers ourselves, most of us have a sense for what is mediocre, good, and great when it comes to storytelling.
One key to great writing is the ability to edit and revise your own work with fresh eyes. We can aim for great work by putting Sarah’s top five tips for revision into practice.
Some writing experts recommend writing a terrible first draft in order to quickly get your words on the page, leaving the bulk of the editing for later. This may work for some, but it can also build poor habits and train us to write badly from the beginning.
If we give the first draft our best effort, we will inevitably become better writers through our commitment to excellence...
The growth of the internet as a publishing outlet has offered many writers the opportunity to share their stories in ways that were not possible before; however, this gift can be a double-edged sword. Because of the proliferation of content online, it’s easy for a writer’s voice to be drowned out by other voices producing content on the same topics.
At hope*writers, we want the words you publish to stand out from the rest, so we sat down with experienced editor Stephanie Smith for a conversation about what she looks for in a writer.
She offers the following tips to help you go from writer to author by refining your ideas for a word-saturated market.
Universal topics such as family relationships, vulnerability, coping with anxiety, and personal growth continue to resonate with readers, regardless of how many writers explore these subjects. Stephanie urges us to follow the poet Emily Dickinson’s advice: “Tell all the truth but tell it...
Have you ever read an older piece you’ve written and wondered why you sound so unlike your everyday self? As writers, it’s tempting to hide our true voice, or keep certain aspects of our lives or our life experiences out of our stories because we’re afraid of how readers might perceive us. This is a form of perfectionism, and it can influence how and what we’re willing to share on the page.
When we focus too much on how we’re perceived in our writing, it can keep us from meeting our readers' needs and allowing them to connect with our story. Writer, podcaster, and pastor Osheta Moore knows this temptation too well. She sat down with hope*writers to discuss how she’s learned to embrace her full, whole self as a writer, and how we can do the same.
Osheta knows how hard it can be to tackle difficult topics. Her readers look to her to help them discover how their everyday lives intersect with peacemaking, and how they can live out peacemaking in...