How to write a killer story for User’s News
In our recent User’s News Reader Survey, many of you told us that you had never written for User’s News because you felt that you couldn’t write well enough to be published. That’s a real shame, because if you are reading this magazine, you are part of a community and we would love to hear from as many members of our community as possible — including those of you who have never written before. We don’t care if you can’t spell or have the worst handwriting: we just want you to write to us. This article will try to encourage you to put pen to paper and send us a story, because we reckon that if you can tell your friends a story, then you can write one too.
Before you start
Before you start writing, think of an event in your life that you’d like to tell us about. It can be funny (the time you nodded off at your brother’s wedding), sad (the time DoCS took your child from you) or dramatic (the time you went through customs with an ounce of smack up your rear end).
Take little bites
Okay, now that you know what you want to write about, you can lay out a structure which will make the story easy to write and interesting to read. It’s often easier to divide the story into little bite-sized sections rather than just starting to write and risk rambling off on a tangent.
The introduction: tell us about yourself
Tell us who you are, where you live, what drugs you are into, any other interests you have or what your job is. We can’t see into your life, so paint us a picture. Some writers just present a series of facts like this:
The story — in sections
Okay, let’s move on to the meaty stuff: your story. Remember, we allocated three of the five sections to this, so you could think of it as three chapters in a book, or a play in three acts. When you made your plan, you would have written down the key sentences for each section, so now you just have to fill in the gaps between those sentences. You might want to write straight through, or start a new page for each section so that you can think about adding more detail later on. If you can get access to a computer, it makes it easier to add and change things later on, but writing on paper is just fine — we don’t care if it’s on the back of a paper bag!
The conclusion is really important, because it tells people how you feel about your experience, what you’ve learnt, how you’ve changed and who you’ve become. Along with the introduction, where you tell us who you are and where you are from, it shows us how the story you told has affected you.
Sending it in
Finished? Congratulations! Now send it in to us: you can email it, fax it or send it in the post. Don’t forget to add your name and address (so we can contact you if we publish your story) and let us know if you want to use a pen-name to stay anonymous. If your story is published, we pay 13 cents per published word.