WRITING TIP 7: Story Pieces

story parts

I’ve been asked many times by children when visiting schools: “Hey, mister, what makes up a story?”
Stories are made up of different kinds of parts which help you tell the whole thing. This explains some of the DRAD.

DESCRIPTION: This is the part of the story where you use lots of adjectives and longer sentences to describe the setting or characters. You might use descriptive writing devices like power-of-3, simile, metaphor, personification. Generally, it is better not to do all your description in one large chunk and have none any where else. Usually writers drop in some description through out their story.
Example: The old house stood at the end of the winding street on top of a grey hill. It loomed over the area like a dark, foreboding presence waiting for the unwise to enter.

REFLECTION: This is when the characters think about what is happening or what has happened to them or what will happen to them. It gives insight into the characters and their motivation.
Example: Why did I ever come here? This was the biggest mistake of my life! Kevin is dancing with Sarah and they’re dancing real close.

ACTION: These are fast paced sections where your character is doing something exciting. It should have lots of exciting verbs (action words) with little or no description and short sentences.
Example: He pulled the gun. He let off a shot. One. two. They flew over the bandit’s heads. He dived behind a rock. 

DIALOGUE: This is when two or more people are talking to each other in a story. Try to avoid using lots of words instead of SAID. Usually SAID is the bet word to use. What is said is the important thing. It should be important, interesting and move the story forward.
Example: I was like, ‘What do you want?’
He shuffled his feet. ‘I wanted to ask you out.’

How much of each part you have depends on the type of story you’re writing and what form it is taking. An adventure story like James Bond will have more action but a historical drama will have more description. A story told through diary entries will contain more reflection, dialogue but less descritption and action.

Get a copy of the Story Parts to print for display here: story parts


WRITING TIP 2: Get Your Characters Talking


Writing speech can leave you at a lost for words. It can be tricky stuff. First, you have all that problem of speech layout to get pass and that’s before your characters even open their mouths. Then, what should they say? And when should they say it? Tricky stuff.

So, here’s my first speech tip: Don’t get too bogged down in the layout and words instead of said (I know some teachers are obsessed with words instead of said and even do WHOLE lessons on it! But it’s not important. Many writers just use said). The most important thing is what your character is saying.

Having said that, it does help your reader if they can tell who is speaking and when. To help you get the layout right, then you could use my TEN RULES FOR SPEECH LAYOUT below. Before anyone says it (usually a writer or teacher), I know all speech is not set out like this. These rules are just a starting point so you can get going. You can play around with the structure later when you think you’ve got it. Let’s keep it simple at first. No space travel before we’ve invented the wheel.


Just click on image to make it bigger

Now the layout is sorted, let’s concentrate on the important fun part of what to say. Here’s when my second speech tip: Make sure your character has something important to say. Whatever you do, don’t just have them waffling away without what they are talking about moving the story on. Here’s an example of what not to do:

“Hello, Pete. What are you doing?” said John.

“I’m going to the park,” said Pete.

“Why are you going to the park?” asked John.

“To play football, ” said Pete.

“I might go too,” said John…..

Your reader is now gnawing in anger on the book, or worse has fallen asleep and is drooling, or even worse worse is an adult who has fallen asleep and is drooling all over the page and nobody wants to see that. Better to have no speech at all than speech like this. Instead, when your character talks, make it exciting and punchy but most of all get to the point. Maybe something like this:

“Hey, John, it’s Pete. I’m at the park. You got to come down and see this?”

“What?” asked John.

“I can’t tell you on the phone. You just wouldn’t believe me. Just get down here,” said Pete then the phone went dead.

The final and most important speech writing  tip: Read your speech aloud. I know, this may sound a bit bonkers and a very embarrassing thing to do but it works. It makes your dialogue sound right. 100% guaranteed. If you don’t, there will be drooling!

So, here are those three tips again to get your characters talking:

Don’t get too bogged down in the layout and words instead of said


Make sure your character has something important to say

Read your speech aloud.


Have fun!