5 Ways to Write a Story of Home
Have you been reading our Scotland’s Stories of Home entries online and flirting with the idea of submitting your own but don’t know where to begin? Find a place that you feel comfortable writing; whether it’s a cafe, your kitchen, tucked up in bed or on a bus, get your writing materials at the ready and go for it. It’s easy to beat the dreaded writer’s block. But if you are finding it a bit difficult to get started, here are five quick and easy tips on writing your story of home.
Define home for you
It may sound simple, but it’s the best starting point. What does ‘home’ mean to you? Is it a location, house, feeling, smell, object? Or is it the memory of a loved one or a place far away? It can be any or all of these things, plus more, but one of the ways to develop a cohesive story or poem is to decide what home means to you and focus on that. Remember: it is usually best to focus well on one or two things rather than barely touch on all the things.
Remember: it is usually best to focus well on one or two things rather than barely touch on all the things
Consider your style
Are you a poet? A storyteller? Songwriter? A novelist? While it is great to be able to write in all these styles, for the simplicity of writing of home, choose one and stick with it. While there are exceptions to this (a poem in a story, for example), a good rule of thumb is to be clear and concise, that way you aren’t confusing your tale by mixing types of writing that just doesn’t seem to work together.
Story or memory?
This may seem to be a pretty straightforward question, but if you’ve ever tried writing from a memory, you will realise that fictionalised elements almost always creep in. You don’t have to choose one or the other, and weaving the two together can often produce magical results, but just be aware that you are doing it, and maybe consider the characters you speak of.
Write all you can
Simple, right? Sit down and write. Yes, the limit is 1,000 words, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop there. If you are nearing the end of the word limit but still have so much to tell, keep going! Once the ending finds you (and endings do often come to you and not the other way around), you can go back and edit the work, by honing it down to the most potent bits. And, who knows, with your long work, you may be well on your way to writing something that stands on its own as a fuller, longer piece of writing – double win!
The opposite approach of writing all is you can is writing about home as flash fiction. One of the most concise forms of fiction, it is a popular way to work on your ability to really focus your storytelling prowess. Usually around the 50-100 word mark, telling a story in such a short amount of words forces you to concentrate all your feelings and thoughts of home and what it means to you. First try telling your story in 100 words. Then narrow it to 50. And if you are really feeling the flash, try telling your story in 140 characters or less, Twitter-style, and tweet it to us at @scottishbktrust.
If you'd like more tips and advice to get you writing, visit our Love to Write section!