The Art of Storytelling

In today’s blog, we at Daastan are sharing with you the secrets of storytelling. In general sense of the word, all humans are storytellers. They carry on their bodies as well as own their souls, the stories of their pain, love, dreams, grief and that of happiness. However, it takes a certain finesse to put together a story that leaves its mark in history. Let’s dive into the art of storytelling by tracing its origins.

Origin of Storytelling

The way we know storytelling today is not how it has always been. The earliest tradition of storytelling can be traced back to the first member of human race. It began as carvings on wood and cave drawings. Later transforming into a complex system of sounds and symbols. However, the oral tradition of passing on legends, myths and epics can be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. They were eloquent people who possessed not only remarkable oratory skills but an in depth knowledge of the written expression. For instance, the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle in their books Republic and Poetics talk about the structure, form, medium, and rhythm of prose and poetry. Aristotle goes as far as to discuss the merits of tragedy, plot, dramatic unity, and the tragic hero.

The 4 Horsemen of Storytelling

There are thousands of successful writers out there which means there are as much brilliant writing advices too. However, today we are focusing on the basics of storytelling that provides a poem, novel, etc a rock-solid foundation.

1. Keep the reader engaged

The first rule Margaret Atwood describes about storytelling is “Hold my attention”. By this she means, no matter what you do keep your reader invested in what you are writing. For if you can not keep your reader engaged from the beginning, it doesn’t matter what big of a surprise you have waiting for them at the end. One simple way of ensuring this is to omit unnecessary details and refrain from extensive descriptions.

2. Speak your truth

Another noteworthy advice that Margaret Atwood gives is to stop letting fear get in the way of your writing. It’s just you and the paper. What can go wrong. She says, “you need to write, fail, fail again and then fail better.” That’s how you get better. In short, keep writing until you have said your truth. Your truth is the unique story universe has whispered into your heart. Now it depends on you to be the vessel that shares it with the rest of the human race.

3. Read, read, and read

One of the very first steps of writing a good story is learning to recognise a good one first. For that purpose you need to do a lot of reading. Especially when you are planning to write within a specific genre. For instance, if you wish to write a gothic fiction, read different books from that genre to form an understanding of how the plot develops, what kind of language has been used, what is the significance of setting to such stories, etc. Believe it or not, having a good reading exercise before writing can be a game-changer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to replicate someone’s ideas rather it’s all about learning the structure.

4. Set daily writing goals

When you are done with your reading exercise, set for yourself some writing goals. Writing in some ways is like mathematics. It requires practice. The only way to getting better at writing is writing bad first, well except for Oscar Wilde. Consider your bad writing phase as a cleansing process. It may be difficult to sit through bad writing phases but it will give you time to evaluate your shortcomings. Therefore, in order to get through the cleansing phase quickly, it’s best to write every single day. Even if you write only one paragraph or two.

Are you a storyteller?

If you are someone who is a storyteller him/herself, then you have come to the right place. We at Daastan, are always looking to help great stories reach their intended audience. For almost half a decade now Daastan has been revolutionising the publishing trends in Pakistan. As a result of these tireless efforts we have published  430 manuscripts in 37 different genres. So, visit Qissa today and get the work of your book publishing started with the help of our team of professionals.

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Noor Hashmi
Noor Hashmi is a student of literature at Numl University. She is an aspiring poetess. She runs a blog by the name of “Diaries of Huda” sharing her journey through poetry. In her free time, she loves to paint and bake.

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