Story writing techniques

(Prompted by a chat with friends. Because there's no One True Way to do it.)

This begs for a digression: you have enough story when there's a satisfying path from beginning to end. Remember that you can have a conclusion without closure, and closure without a conclusion. Guess which one is necessary and sufficient. As for the beginning, its most important role isn't so much to set things up, but to make the audience care. If they don't give a damn about the characters and their circumstances after a page or two at most, good luck winning them back later. Assuming they've stuck around.

Notice the one conspicuous absence? It's outlining like we were all taught to do in school: a method as popular as it is bad, resulting in disjointed stories where nothing follows and stuff happens because it's supposed to. If you're going to try this at all, use outliner software such as Org Mode or Orgzly. At least they let you flesh out and rearrange the outline as needed while you work.

In other words, engage with your story before you ask the audience to. Or did you think being the author made you somehow better?