Written by Brian Fung, a professor at MIT Media Lab, “Writing a great story” is a term coined by John Green, a writer and activist.
“I’m always saying to myself: What are we going to write about?
How are we gonna tell a story?
And so I guess the trick is to write the story as if you’re not really there, to let the story just kind of unfold,” he says.
“But then when you do, you have to go through the story, you’re always in the moment, you are in a moment, and you’re doing it in a very specific way.
It’s not a very easy task, but I’m very proud of that.”
In a new book, “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: A Storytelling Toolkit for Writers” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Fung lays out the fundamentals of what he calls “the craft of story telling.”
The book offers advice to aspiring writers on how to make the best of their writing, how to write like an artist, how not to do what he’s doing.
Fung, who is the author of “The Art of Storytelling” (Alfred A. Knopf), is a member of the New York Times best-selling creative writing faculty, and has published more than 30 books, including the popular “The Power of Writing,” the bestselling “The Little Book of Words” (Simon & Schuster) and the award-winning “The Book of Love.”
In addition to his book, he’s the author or co-author of a slew of other best-sellers including “How to Be a Writer,” “A Guide to Writing Good Fiction” (Henry Holt and Company), “The Five Types of Writers” and “The Four Books of the Writers’ Guild of America.”
The book is based on a workshop he co-founded, the “Storytelling 101 Workshop,” which has been hosted by the Newbery Medal-winning author of the “The Invention of Narrative” (Allen Lane) and is now the largest free-to-enter online storytelling workshop in the United States.
“We’re talking about storytelling, and that’s what I’ve always been interested in, and it’s something that is so deep, and so complex and important,” Fung says.
“You can see this in the storytellers themselves, who really struggle to understand their craft.
They see the process as the art, not as a skill, and they have a hard time grasping the meaning of the craft.”
But if you look at a lot of writing, you’ll see that the writing is actually a process, and when you’re really focused on the process, you can find ways to get better at it.
Fong’s tips to help aspiring writers make the most of their craft are:Create your own story.
“Don’t just go into it thinking you’re going to be a writer.
You’re going be a teacher,” he advises.
“You’re going not going to know the art of story until you’ve done a lot more of the work.”
“Think about your story,” he adds.
“If it’s just a story about a house or a tree, and someone has made that happen, and if that’s the story you’re writing, then the best way to tell that story is to really think about how the story is made, and to figure out what the story means to that character, to the audience.”
“If you’re interested in a specific genre, the most effective way to write that story will be to create the perfect genre.
So if I’m writing about the story of a man who loves his dog and loves his friends, I can tell that I’m a storyteller, I’m making it about a man that is looking for love, and he can tell his story in a way that’s fun, that’s engaging, that has the right balance between romance and tragedy.””
So you’ve got to think about what the perfect story is going to mean to the reader, and then you have the ability to think of a good story for that reader.
You’ve got a whole set of tools in the toolbox.”
Create a story.
Fung encourages aspiring writers to “think about your writing in terms of a story.”
“So if you have a story that’s a good metaphor for a relationship, for a child, it’s great.
But if you think of it as a story of love, then that’s great too, and even better.”
The best way is to create a story for yourself.
“And that’s where the power of story writing comes in,” Fong says.
“[A writer] can go into a room and tell a great poem or story about an emotional story, about a life story, and have a great chance of making that work.”
Create your story, write it, then get your story published.
“There are so many ways to tell a