Writing Stories by Writing User Stories

Say what? What is this? Writeception? Kind of. In IT, user stories are a well known concept. I’m going to give you a simple definition here. For more information and examples, please refer to Mike Cohn’s blogpost.

In this context, user stories are short, simple descriptions told from the perspective of a reader. They state a clear goal. They express motivation. I don’t like to describe everything in them, like you might do for your first page, but they should contain these basic concepts.

Some examples

As a reader, I want to learn the background of the protagonist so that I better understand his motivation.

As a reader, I want to meet the antagonist’s friends so that I can fully appreciate the person he is. Instead of just seeing him as the bad guy.

As the protagonist, I want to learn more about person X, so that the information I’ve gathered can help me to pursuit goal Y.

These are very high-level examples. Mostly because if I use my own, I might be spoiling half my story. But I think you get the general idea, right?

Still with me?

I try to write this kind of user stories for each chapter. Each chapter should have a goal. If it doesn’t, then what’s the use of it? The goal can be for the reader, as well as for characters in the book.

The motivation should always be in connection to the plot. Whether it’s about gaining knowledge in the motivation and thus the conflict of a character, or whether it helps the character and/or reader move forward in the story.

I’ll let you know how this experiment works out. If you want to try it, go ahead. I think the extra information doesn’t hurt.

That’s all for today. Have fun writing!