Structuring Thoughts for Engaging Stories

I love to read and have ample patience to stay on any content piece a little longer to figure out the storyline. However, not everyone is a keen reader or has enough patience. Today the available information for consumption is aplenty and average attention span of a human is 8 seconds. The story needs to be engaging right from the intro to the climax and the narrative has to flow to hook readers.

Despite having great ideas and mind-blowing topics, some stories fail. Many writers find it challenging to put ideas together to craft engaging stories.

Why do they struggle after all? Is there anything they can do about it?

The answer is Yes!  

A well defined outline or structure is the backbone of great stories. It is the roadmap that helps writers navigate to reach the destination conveniently.

Why do we need a Story Structure?

When you decide to write on any topic, many ideas pop up in your head. It is challenging to organize them to craft an engaging story. We tend to lose count of a few thoughts and try to plug them later, which seems to be a patchwork. The flow of ideas seems to be missing and the narrative looks like a piece of disjointed thoughts that lacks cohesion.

An outline helps us to assemble the scattered thoughts. It is essential to hook the reader right from the beginning to the end. A structure provides clarity and brings discipline to our writing. It helps us funnel our thoughts and deliver intended message. 

Structuring is a practical and tested solution to get away with writer’s block.

What Makes a Good Outline?

Some writers mistake outlines to mere bullet points. At the same time, others feel that it is segregation of ideas under various heads like title, headings, sub-headings and conclusion.

An outline needs to be exhaustive enough to guide your writing.

This is how I practice structure my stories.

  • A well-thought structure requires brainstorming. Asking questions is one of the best ways to funnel ideas. Every time I think of considering an idea or a thought, I question its relevance. 
  • A catchy title grabs the readers’ attention and makes the outline more defined.  
  • Relevant key points or anecdotes in the introduction set the context and communicate the purpose of the story.  
  • Headings and subheadings are a must. It conveys the crux of the subject discussed in each part of the story.  
  • Statistics, reports, quotes and other appropriate references elevate a story outline.  
  • I make sure every idea penned while drafting the outline adheres to the core message of the story. 

I know the process might seem exhaustive and time-consuming but has manifold benefits. A well-thought structure saves actual time of writing. It helps maintain the flow. It prevents diversion of thoughts and inclusion of unnecessary and repetitive information, thereby making the story meaty and compelling.

All set to kick off your next story with a strong outline? Let us know how it went.

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