Jonathan Levin Philadelphia based journalist is a serial writer and whilst by day he reports on the local state of affairs here in Philadelphia, by night he is a storytelling expert. Jonathan actually studied to be an attorney but after getting a taste for writing he decided to change lanes and instead of working with a client to help them with legal issues, he writes about them. We were fortunate enough to have some time with Jonathan to discuss storytelling and to get some tips on how you can write a story. And so if you are interested in putting a story together, here is how Jonathan gets started.
Jonathan will start with a rough idea of the storyline, he will then play about with different themes and different ways in which the story can take place. This early stage is where Jonathan begins to put together the framework for his story, and it is also what helps him understand what he needs to research.
Next up Jonathan will look into some more specific details around the theme of his story. for example he recently wrote a story about a group of misfits from Philadelphia, and in order to gain the accuracy that he wanted he worked with some young people from the city, in order to understand what challenges they face. This research period is very important and it helps to get the accuracy that you need in order to give the best story to the reader. It is important that you expose yourself to as much information as possible in order to get your accuracy write.
During this early stage Jonathan will invest as much time as possible into character development and he believes that this is where he can really drive the story. The characters will always be the most important aspect to the story and you must ensure that they are who drives the storyline, and not the other way around. Try to think about who your characters are, where they have come from, what their life is like, their state of mind, their ambitions and dreams, plus their strengths and their flaws.
Pen to Paper
Once the research is done and the characters have been developed, Jonathan will get started putting pen to paper. Already he will have a rough idea of the framework which his story is going to take and he will use this as a guide for writing. In many cases Jonathan will write a few thousand words and then tear it up and start again because he doesn’t like it, and there is nothing wrong in doing this. As painful as it may be, there must be a certain degree of trial and error about storytelling, and this is why you shouldn’t put any pressure on yourself to get it right first time.
Follow these tips and you may be able to start writing beautiful stories like Jonathan.
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