man writing a story in Chinese
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How to Write a Good Story in Chinese

Writing a story in Chinese is a great way to practice your communication skills. Storytelling dates back to cave drawings. People have always wanted to share their stories with others. There were oral histories that were passed down through generations, often through song. Eventually written language developed, of which Chinese is one of the oldest. Written Chinese is more than 3,000 years old! So, how can you use this ancient language to write a story?

Writing a story in Chinese

To write a story in Chinese, first, try to stick with words that you already know. By using words you understand how to use, it will enable you to put them together in a way that your readers will understand. Sometimes you may want to express something more complex than your current Chinese vocabulary. In that case, you’ll find that oftentimes you can communicate the same idea using words that you already know. You can use this trick to speak more fluently before reaching an advanced level. It’s actually a great way to communicate effectively even with limited vocabulary!

For example: you could say, “I was famished, so I devoured an entire chocolate cake.” In order to communicate the same idea in more simple terms you could say, “I was very hungry, so I quickly ate an entire chocolate cake.” It communicates the same general idea without using the complex vocabulary.

If you do decide to spice up your story with new words, be sure to have a friend read through your story to make sure that it makes sense. Even if you don’t use any new vocabulary, it’s actually always a good idea to get another pair of eyes on it.

The following section will break down the principles of writing any good story, and we’ve included it first in English and then in Chinese.

How to write a good story | 如何写故事

First, you should plan the story from three aspects: story content, story characters, and story meaning.

首先,故事要从三个方面来构思和设计:故事内容、故事人物,故事意义。

Story content | 故事内容

The story content consists of a beginning, middle section and an ending. The most important point of the story is that it contains a logical but strongly emotional conflict. This is the “problem” that you need to solve from the beginning of your story to the end.

故事内容,包括故事开始、故事中途和故事结尾。而故事内容最重要的一点是要设计出逻辑严密情感激烈的矛盾冲突。就是你这个故事从头到尾,需要解决的“问题”。

At the beginning of the story, build up suspense, let the problem appear and attract the reader’s attention.

故事开始,设悬念,让问题出现,引起读者的注意;

The middle part of the story concerns how to solve the problem.

故事中途,如何解决问题;

At the end of the story, the problem is solved and the reader is left emotionally satisfied.

故事结尾,问题解决,带给读者情感上的满足。

Story characters | 故事人物

There are three requirements for writing characters:

写故事人物,有三个条件:

First, they should be ordinary people who are easily relatable. Only this way can you get the reader involved and arouse their sympathy;

第一,是随处可见的普通人。这样才能有足够的代入感,引起读者的共鸣;

Second, the characters should have clear-cut personalities;

第二,要有鲜明的性格;

Third, the characters in the story must be connected.

第三,故事中的人物要有联系。

Story meaning | 故事意义

At the end, the meaning of the story is presented. That is, the message the author wants to share with the reader through this story.

在故事结尾提出故事的意义,即升华主题,也就是作者想要通过这个故事告诉读者什么。

Now it’s time to write your story

With this basic outline of how to write a story, paired with instructions on writing a story in Chinese, you can write your own story! Are you going to write a romance? A murder mystery? An epic fantasy? You could even write an autobiographical story or a memoir. Everyone has a story to tell, let us know in the comments what story you are going to write.

Need some more motivation to write a story? Join the ‘Your Chinese Story’ challenge (deadline May 20) or join the workshop on the May 14!

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