You’ve researched your hero. You’ve found your story root. We can almost hear you asking, how do I begin the writing process?
At the root, of course! Just as we did in the post about Billie Jean King.
But first, let’s generate some ideas.
Writing Tip #1: Take the pressure off. Start with a 10-minute brainstorm.
That’s right! We recommend kicking off your writing process with a 10-minute brainstorm on a piece of blank paper with a pencil or pen. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Tap “start” and begin to write in answer to this question:
What do I find most interesting and exciting about my #HistoryHero?
There is only one rule to brainstorming: don’t stop writing. You can write sentences. You can make a list. Whatever works for you. Because no one is ever going to see this writing but you. It’s completely pressure free. You don’t have to worry about finding the perfect word or using the correct punctuation — you don’t have to use any punctuation at all if you don’t want to. You don’t have to be mindful of spelling or story structure. The idea is simply get your ideas flowing.
When your 10 minutes are up, if you need another 10, take them! It’s your writing process. Own it.
When you think you’re ready to turn your brainstorming session into a story, it’s time to get more serious. You can now move from messy paper to blank computer screen.
Writing Tip #2: Use your story root to craft your post intro.
That’s the best way — and the only place — to “hook” your readers and keep them engaged to the end of your post. Keep it short and sweet.
There are several ways to structure your intro. You can start with a question, as we did with Billie Jean King.
Or you can start with a statement, like this:
Sometimes all it takes to be a #HistoryHero is moxie. And this hero has moxie in spades! We’re talking about Taylor Moxey, AKA Taylor the Chef. Wise beyond her years, Taylor believes, “If you have enough creativity, anything is possible.” And Taylor’s creativity knows no bounds.
Starting with a personal connection to your #HistoryHero can work too, as our author did here:
It's the last two weeks of summer. Folks are busy soaking up their final moments of holiday time or distracted with the start of school, just like me. But when I learned of the illness and eventual passing of one of my life-long heroes, Aretha Franklin, a woman who commanded R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I just had to add this one last #HistoryHero post before hanging up my holiday shingle for the summer.
But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to start. Your ideas may change — in fact, they probably will, as you write. That’s okay! Sometimes it’s easier to write the intro last or to write a bad version of it just to get a running start, and return to it later when you’re revising your post. We’ll be getting to that next.
So if you’re stumped as to how to craft your intro, don’t let that stop you. Go ahead and dive right into the next section: the post body.
Writing Tip #3: The body of your post is the trunk of your story tree.
The body of your post is where you will extend from your story root to provide the context of your hero’s tale so the reader can best appreciate their contribution to history. This is where you will weave story and facts together, revealing the necessary historical and geographical facts when and as they are needed to support the story. Your story body — or trunk — can be as thick or as thin, as short as tall and the story root requires it to be.
By example, here’s how Billie Jean’s story continues from the intro:
It was 1973, the age of feminism. Women were burning bras and dumping their false eyelashes and high heels into the "freedom trash can." What’s more, they were demanding equal pay for equal work and equal attention in professional athletics.
Retired tennis champion Bobby Riggs assumed the role of male resistance. Never before had a man faced a woman in singles tennis. That was about to change: Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a dual. Their confrontation on the court would become a global event.
On September 20, 1973, Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King faced off on the court for the “battle of the sexes.” Ninety million people worldwide tuned in to watch.
Do you want to read more? Do you want to find out, like the 90 Million viewers who tuned in at the time, who won the battle of the sexes? We sure hope you do! Notice that the writer weaves the facts and dates into the story, bringing Billie Jean’s challenge to life, while keeping the reader in suspense. The writing is sure to keep readers engaged until the end.
So, you’ve grown your story trunk from its root. Now we can hear you asking, But wait, how do I conclude my hero’s story?
Answer: At the beginning! With the story root again, but this time made whole with all its glorious leaves and branches.
Writing Tip #4: Conclude your story were you began.
With the benefit of the context you provide in the body of your post, the story root can — and should — come to full bloom in your conclusion. It makes the point that your story intro could only hint at. Remember the intro to Billie Jean’s story?
How would you choose to smash the patriarchy if given the chance? Billie Jean King used her tennis racquet.
Here’s what it looks like in the conclusion of the post. It’s similar, but more fleshed out with details that would bored readers with too much information in the intro, but which now make sense.
Billie Jean King demanded equal recognition for women's successes everywhere and in all walks of life. She still works with the Women's Sports Foundation today, which continues to prove that whatever a man can do, a woman can do just as well.
Writing Tip #5: Remember! You’re not writing a biography, or a school report.
You’re crafting a story. So ask yourself: what aspects of my hero’s life are most essential to the tale I wish to tell? The author of Billie Jean’s post decided to focus on just one match in her hero’s very long and impressive professional tennis career. The author introduces and concludes Billie Jean’s post with the importance of that match — the story root — then gives us only the details most necessary to support that root in the body, or trunk, of the post.
Writing Tip #6: Have fun!