Writing skateboard fiction is a such a fun thing to try out as it’s like making a daydream permanent, sharable, and you can get paid for it.
So whether you’re writing for yourself for fun, writing stories for your friends to laugh about, or want to publish on Amazon you’re going to need some tips to produce a great story.
Here’s my checklist for writing realistic skateboard fiction (ignoring the fact that you should already know what the tricks are!):
Start with a bang.
Start the story as quickly as possible, preferably in a skatepark or some sort of skating related text.
Keep the main character young.
If you’re planning a story based around an older character, you’re going to immediately turn off most of the readers. Even if an older skater is reading your story, they were young once, and probably won’t put the book down because of it.
Don’t hold back.
Traditional advice is to not confuse the reader with terminology which they won’t understand. You won’t have this problem because you’re aiming the story at skaters.
Keep it simple.
Don’t plan to write an Epic if you have never done so. Start with something small and achievable.
Keep it realistic.
Whilst fiction can go anywhere, Skateboard Fiction is a brand new genre, which means, the reader will expect to connect quickly with the story. If you’re planning a skateboard fantasy, you’re going to have to do a lot of world building which will take too much time, and potentially lose the reader. Help yourself by keeping it set in todays time.
Characters make the story.
It’s fine to think up cool things to do – that gets a reader hooked – but it’s interesting characters which keep them reading! For this reason, try not to use a character ‘like you’. Think about the most incredible/cool/badass/funny/lunatic you can and plonk them in your story.
Give the skaters a big goal.
It’s fine if you want them to go out and have a great day skating, but have a big challenge for even the best riders. Announce that challenge in the beginning, but save approaching it until the end.
The middle is the real story.
The middle bit of the story is easy because it’s all about the struggle to get to the end goal, and it’s also about the internal struggle of the main character. This means you’ve got to give your main character a big personal problem! They have to learn to overcome it, and once they do, they can finally reach the end goal.
Use your senses.
Writing action is fine, but you also need to be descriptive. So before jumping into a scene, shut your eyes and imagine it. Build a picture in your mind, look around (in your day dream): who is across the street? what shops are there? what are people wearing? what does it smell like? what can you hear? This isn’t wasted writing as it help immerse your reader. Once the reader is immersed they will likely enjoy everything you write.
Planning saves you time.
If you want to finish what you start quickly. You need a plan. Make sure you have these things in place. 1. Your beginning needs to have an inciting incident (start fast, exciting, and introduce a big goal), 2. Your entire middle of the story will be full of complications (for that goal) which get harder and harder to achieve. 3. The middle of your middle needs to have a massive crisis for your main character, and it will involve their personal weakness which they must ‘get over’! 4. The End of your story will need a Climax (reaching the goal, overcoming it, or failing massively!), so make it exciting. 5. The end of the end needs a resolution, so wrap up everything nicely. The reader will want to know what happens after the Climax. Yes, if might feel slow to write, but the reader will be annoyed you don’t close the story properly. Tick all these boxes and you’ve created a damn good readable story. All you have to do now is start writing it!
Grammar and spelling matters.
Good writing works best when the reader is immersed in the story and not trying to figure out your sentences. This is why grammar and spelling matters. It’s all about hypnotising your reader! Tip: you’ll never be able to spot all the mistakes no matter how hard you try, because your brain will skip over the errors. Get other people to read it and ask for help: finding errors will make you better!
Share as you write.
As long as you’re not crippled by embarrassment, your friends will be interested in your stories. Tell them about it as soon as you can (a couple of pages will be enough, or even just a scene!) The sooner you tell people the sooner they can start getting excited about it and tell their friends.
Break all these rules.
If you’re confident, you can write anything, but don’t expect anyone to read it, and/or enjoy it! There are no rules to writing fiction, but there’s a lot of things you can do to lose readers. Once you’ve grasped the basics above you can start to experiment.
Mark Mapstone is a skateboarder, a writer, and author of the Ethan Wares Skateboard Series books.
Follow Mark on Instagram: @7plywood
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