Do you love weaving interesting narratives with your imagination? A story is simply a narrative comprising of either real or fictional characters put together in certain events or circumstances. Story writing forms a crucial element of Class 9 and 10 English syllabi as it aims to teach children about the basic structure and format of writing a tale. This blog brings a comprehensive guide on story writing format and topics for Class 9 and 10 which you must practice to ace this section in your English examination.
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Understanding the Essentials of Story Writing
A story is usually meant for entertainment purposes, can be moral-based or both. It is important that your written narrative has an “easily understandable grammatical structure” with “natural flow of speech” to help the reader comprehend it. Stories can be told using different forms of narration like written, oral and visual or audio-video. To begin with, you must know the 8 elements of story writing format:
- Point of view
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Understanding the Format of Story Writing
Story writing requires creativity and imagination and your narrative must be structured in an organized manner to infer the intended meaning. The main purpose of structuring a story is to explain, narrate, and persuade the reader or an audience. Let’s take a look at the main constituents of the story writing format which have been explained below:
The beginning is the most fundamental and basic element of story writing format which stresses upon setting the right stage for your characters as well as the plot. Often referred to as the exposition, the beginning of the story is the part where you need to provide the reader with a basic overview of every key character and the setting for the plot in order to hook the reader till the end.
Introduction to Characters
Often comprised under the beginning element of story writing, character introductions might also happen after the setting has been solidified. It is necessary to produce characters that have a purpose or role in the development of the story. Try creating characters that the reader can relate to and those that connect the plot throughout the narration.
Once you have familiarised the reader with the setting and character, the next step is to work towards curating an intricate and engaging plot. The plot is where the actual action of the whole story occurs. Without including this element in your story writing, you will not be able to intrigue the reader and spark their curiosity.
Conflict is where you have the chance to experiment with your characters by putting them in a persevering circumstance or rather entering a new sub-plot to intrigue the reader further. This constituent of story writing aims to hook the reader to the plot and you must weave it in an engaging way. Often the conflict in the story can be an event, situation or even a new character. It plays a vital role in changing the mundane lives of your story’s characters and putting a challenge in front of them which will make your narrative interesting.
Considered to be the final stage in story writing format, a logical or decisive conclusion is where the story ends. It elucidates upon the resolution of the conflict that you introduced as well as explores what your character learnt from the situational conflict or how they emerged from it. Often many stories do not have an ending but leave the reader in bewilderment with the promise of continuing with the next part and this tactic is referred to as a cliffhanger.
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How to Write a Story?
While the commonly followed story writing format has been elaborated above, there are no certain and specific rules that one needs to follow while carving out an interesting story. To help you create an appealing and engaging story, we have recommended a general process you can follow:
The Idea is the Premise
The first and foremost thing you need for story writing is an idea. This idea can be anything, from an event to a character or a simple one-liner that you want to turn into a story. Further, ideas come with constant brainstorming, reading and writing and often if you are not getting the right ideas to form your narrative, you are surely facing a writer’s block. Read as much as you can, write all the topics you have in mind and brainstorm with yourself and others to come up with engaging storylines.
Carve a Basic Outline
Once you are sure about the story you want to narrate, the next step is to create a simple outline of events and characters the narrative will spread across. This can be just a one-liner which can brief anyone about the basic storyline or it can be in pointers listing down the different events. Making a concise outline will help you keep a grasp over the story writing format as you will be able to understand the different events and how they will unfold.
Focus on the Protagonist
“The protagonist is the character whose fate matters most to the story.”
Just like you have to spend hours working on the right idea for your story, you will also have to work on carving the right protagonist who can represent the idea and theme of your narrative. While most writers prefer to have a character as their protagonist, it is commonly not a necessity to do so. You can put innovate and think out of the box and make any event, idea or even a thing your protagonist. But remember, a protagonist will drive your story’s narrative and plot, so choose judiciously.
Write an Intriguing First Line
Now that you have made up your mind on what, who, where, how and when of your story, penning down the first line is an equal struggle as that of finalising the above elements of the story writing format. The first line of your story will set the tone of the plot, hook the reader and establish the voice of your narrative. So, it is important to spend time on creating an engaging and marvellous first line. Take a look at some of the famous opening lines of popular books which will surely inspire you:
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
– The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
– Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”
– Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
– The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Franz Kafka
Build Up the Characters
Another prominent element of the story writing format, your characters will give structure, flair and flow to the narrative and thus need to be developed cautiously. Experiment with events and how these characters can react to them to help them progress towards the ultimate conclusion of the story.
Write, Proofread, Edit & Repeat!
Once you have finished writing a story, the final step should always be to proofread and edit the narrative. Ask a friend to read the story, get it reviewed and you can keep editing, adding to it and removing any additional paras until you feel good to go!
Story Writing Topics for Class 9 and 10 (CBSE)
For the story writing section in Class 9 and Class 10 syllabus for CBSE, the students are asked to frame a story on a particular given topic. The title and moral carries 1 mark while the story content is for 4 marks and the story expression is given 5 marks after evaluation of coherence, accurate use of words and correct spelling and punctuation. Now that you are familiarised with the story writing format, let’s practice drafting a story from the following topics:
|Write a short story in 200 – 250 words using the following clues. Provide your story with a title.
Travelling to Mumbai by bus to attend the marriage of a friend …… got stuck in a traffic jam ……. reached the railway station late …… boarded a wrong train …… realized after two hours ……. now you ………
|Write a short story in 200 – 250 words using the following clues. Provide your story with a title.
Raman was on the terrace ……. watching the last rays of the sun. Suddenly, he heard some shouting coming from the street ……. He ran down the stairs to see what had happened ……..
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Story Writing Tips
While many writers experiment with the story writing format, the most important thing you should keep in mind that your narrative appeals to your audience and intrigues their mind. It takes time to frame a structure, draft a basic narrative and then write a story woven around a series of events. Take a look at the following story writing tips that help you to compose an extraordinary story.
- Compose a story with fewer characters.
- Try to establish your narrative in a shorter time frame.
- Describe the setting vividly.
- Curate the beginning with a compelling first line.
- Mould your characters with certain traits and skills to help the reader remember them.
- Choose a suitable title that fits your narrative.
- Use a simpler and understandable language.
- Write short sentences.
- Maintain coherence in your writing.
- Try to impart the readers with a particular moral or message in the end.
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How to Write a Short Story?
Just like other writing tasks, story writing also has a pattern or a format. The only need to follow this format is to give more meaning to your write up. Following a fixed structure can give more meaning to your story and make it more interesting. Here are the components that must be there in your story – Setting, Characterization, Plot, Conflict, Climax, Resolution, Theme and Point of view.
The essentials of a perfect story are as follows:
1. Follow the set structure
2. Find the key emotion, revelation or core concern of the story
3. Start writing the story and do add a hook in the beginning
4. Complete the story
5. Re-read and edit it yourself
6. Ask others for help in editing the story
In order to write a short story, you need to begin the story with an interesting hook. Moving forward, introduce the characters and move towards the plot. Next thing that comes is a conflict between the characters which leads to the conclusion or climax of the story!
The 5 main parts of a story structure are as follows:
2. Rising action
4. Falling action
5. Catastrophe, denouement, resolution, or revelation
Hence, we hope that this blog helped you explore the essentials of story writing format. Want to pursue a course in creative writing? Sign up for an e-meeting with our Leverage Edu experts and we will assist you in choosing the best programme and university that aligns with your interests, aspirations and career preferences!