The other day I saw a notice asking for submissions of holiday-themed screenplays. Obviously, the film producers were already thinking ahead to 2018 and beyond.
Then I remembered the Christmas story I wrote some years ago. I began with great trepidation. Surely, your own story cannot rank with the classics.
But my attitude changed, once I began to write. My own views of the holiday didn't need to correspond with those of Dickens and other authors. How to write a story is solved simply by being honest about your feelings.
I share some writing tips below. Story writing and online writing may seem like worlds apart, but begin with your strength and develop from there.
(First Christmas Story TIP: Start with a problem. The central character need not be happy or cheery. Give him or her something to grapple with while in the midst of other merry-makers.
Second Christmas Story TIP: Start with a happy occasion and quickly turn it into a personal disaster. Explosions and assassination attempts are not required to create drama. What's the worst thing that could happen to your hero as the story opens?
Third Christmas Story TIP: Avoid reading the classics. Choose a different approach. How many times can we watch a grumpy person be forced to reveal a painful past only to see him or her turn sunny and nice? Your creative writing skills will improve by pursuing your own voice and themes. You never know, maybe it will make you consider writing a novel about your holiday.
Fourth Christmas Story TIP: Tie it to something you have a passion for. Guitar and songwriting were my choices. My Songbook Chronicles trace the progress (or retreat) of singer-songwriter Frank Gosnell.
Fifth Christmas Story TIP: To develop the story, write a short article about it in an attempt to explain to a listener what it's all about. Don't worry if you don't know how to write an article. Just start. It can be sloppy, bumpy or initially illogical. By telling the story you're actually developing creative writing prompts that may inspire story beats.
(BTW, as ghostwriter for hire, I often share these same tips for business books, memoirs and books by musicians. I like using fiction narrative techniques for nonfiction projects. So use these tips any way you wish.)