Dirty Little Secrets to Writing a Good Story

In my post Two Secret Rules for Writers, I said the secret was that there isn’t a secret in writing. I may have to take that back. The truth is there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story. One secret? There’s probably no new story under the sun. Why? Are we writers’ incapable of an original thought?

Woman holding her finger to her lips knows there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story

Heck no! The originality comes from the blend and the bend of the story as told by that particular writer at that particular time. Stories come from the stories we have consumed (read, heard, or viewed). So they are all a melding of a ton of different things.

Study Story

To write the best stories one must study the masters. Study the successful stories. What makes them tick? And how can I use that in my story?

Pantsers decry outlines and story structure to their story’s detriment. The way the human brain processes story demands a structure we can recognize.

You don’t have to start from an outline, but whatever you write must have the parts in it to be successful.


I’ve mixed bits and pieces of Westerns and Space Opera and Thrillers and mythology. Yes, they went into one story. And it worked because I used structure to help me put the pieces where they made sense.

How? I looked at the choices the main character makes at each stage of the story. The types of decision made in the Western fit my story so there’s my beginning. Mid-point decisions made in a thriller and a myth, inspired my story’s mid-point. And the crisis decision(s) came from the Space Opera. In a way, I’ve borrowed the bones of four (or more) different skeletons. My characters, my setting, my story throughline written in my words flesh the story out.

The Secret

Studying stories can trigger creative ideas and solutions when writing my own stories. This is one of the dirty little secrets to writing a good story. But it’s no secret that Fellowship is going live on Monday, July 8th. You can pre-order now. And, if you follow my Facebook author page, I’ll let you know about a short, online launch party I’ll be having soon.

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