8 Tips to Enhance Storytelling in Editorial
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Use vivid descriptions
  2. How to create engaging characters
  3. Why setting matters
  4. How to craft a compelling plot
  5. Use dialogue effectively
  6. Create a strong voice and tone
  7. How to use foreshadowing and suspense
  8. Why revision is key

Storytelling is an art form that has been around for centuries, and it's not just for bedtime tales or campfire ghost stories. Editorial storytelling is a powerful tool that can transform your writing from bland and boring to captivating and compelling. So, if you've been wondering how to improve storytelling in your editorial work, you're in the right place. Here we will tackle eight practical tips that will help you craft narratives that will keep your readers hooked from the first sentence to the last.

Use Vivid Descriptions

Imagery is the lifeblood of storytelling—think of it as your secret weapon to engage your readers. It's like painting a picture with words. Instead of saying, "the house was old," you might say, "The house, with its peeling paint and creaky porch, had seen better days." That specific image stays with your readers, making your story more memorable.

Here are some ways to add more vivid descriptions to your editorial storytelling:

  • Appeal to the senses: Don't limit yourself to visual descriptions. Consider how things smell, sound, feel, and taste. For example, "The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the room."
  • Be specific: Give your readers clear images. Instead of saying "the car," say "the cherry red vintage Mustang."
  • Use metaphors and similes: These can add depth and complexity to your descriptions. For example, "Her eyes were as wide as saucers."
  • Show, don't tell: Instead of telling your readers someone is nervous, show them. "He drummed his fingers on the table, his foot tapping in rhythm."

Remember that the goal of using vivid descriptions is not to bombard your readers with fancy words. It's about helping them see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the world you're creating. So, the next time you're wondering how to improve storytelling in your editorial work, take a moment to paint a picture with your words. Your readers will thank you for it.

How to Create Engaging Characters

Characters are the heart and soul of any story. They are the ones who drive the action and engage your readers' emotions. So, how can you create characters that are not just names on a page but living, breathing individuals? Here are a few tips:

  • Make them relatable: Your characters don't have to be perfect; in fact, they shouldn't be. They should have strengths, weaknesses, desires, and fears — just like real people. This makes them more relatable and interesting to your readers.
  • Give them a voice: Each character should have a unique way of speaking and thinking that reflects their personality. This will make your characters feel more real and distinct.
  • Let them grow: Characters should change and develop over the course of your story. This growth makes your story more engaging and gives your readers a reason to keep turning the pages.

Creating engaging characters is a big part of improving your editorial storytelling. Remember, your readers are investing their time (and possibly their heart) into these characters. So, make them worth the investment.

Why Setting Matters

Imagine trying to piece together a puzzle without any idea of the picture you're trying to create. That's what it's like to read a story without a well-defined setting. The setting is the backdrop against which your characters act and your plot unfolds. It's what grounds your story in a time and place, making it feel real and tangible to your readers. But how can you use setting effectively in your editorial storytelling?

  • Choose a relevant setting: Your setting should be relevant to your story and its themes. A story about isolation, for example, could be set in a remote, desolate landscape. This helps to reinforce the themes and emotions you're exploring in your story.
  • Use sensory detail: Don't just tell your readers where your story is set; show them. Use sensory detail to paint a vivid picture of the setting in their minds. This will make your story more immersive and engaging.
  • Use the setting to reveal character: The way your characters interact with their environment can tell your readers a lot about them. So, use the setting as a tool for character development.

Remember, the setting is more than just a backdrop; it's an integral part of your story that can add depth and complexity. So, don't neglect it in your quest to improve your editorial storytelling.

How to Craft a Compelling Plot

It's time to talk about the backbone of your story—the plot. This crucial element is what keeps your readers hooked and turning the pages. But how can you create a plot that's compelling? Here are a few tips.

Start with an intriguing premise: Your story needs a strong foundation, and that's your premise. It should be something that sparks curiosity and makes your readers want to know more. For example, what if you found a letter addressed to you from a future version of yourself?

Include conflict: Conflict is the engine that drives your plot. It creates tension, challenges your characters, and keeps your readers engaged. So, whether it's a clash of personalities, a struggle against nature, or an internal battle of wills, make sure your story has conflict.

Build towards a climax: The climax is the turning point of your story, where the tension reaches its peak. It's the moment your readers have been waiting for, so make sure it's worth the wait.

Wrap up with a satisfying conclusion: After the climax, you need to wrap up your story and tie up any loose ends. This is your chance to leave your readers with a lasting impression, so make it count.

Remember, a compelling plot is key to engaging your readers and enhancing your storytelling. It's the journey that your characters embark on, and it's what keeps your readers invested in their story. So, take the time to craft a plot that's worth telling.

Use Dialogue Effectively

Let's dive into the art of conversation in storytelling. Dialogue is not just about characters talking to each other—it's a powerful tool that can reveal character, advance the plot, and add depth to your story. But how can you use dialogue effectively?

Make it natural: The dialogue in your story should feel natural and real. It's not about using perfect grammar—it's about capturing the way people actually talk. So, if your character is a teenager, they should sound like one, not like a professor giving a lecture.

Use it to reveal character: Dialogue is a great way to show who your characters are. Through their words, you can reveal their personality, their beliefs, their fears, and their desires. For example, a character who always speaks in short, clipped sentences may be direct and impatient, while a character who uses a lot of metaphors and similes may be imaginative and creative.

Advance the plot: Every line of dialogue should serve a purpose in your story. It can move the plot forward, create tension, or reveal important information. If a line of dialogue doesn't do any of these things, you might want to consider cutting it.

Avoid info dumps: While dialogue can be used to convey information, avoid using it as a way to dump a lot of information at once. It can make the dialogue feel unnatural and boring. Instead, try to weave the information into the conversation in a subtle and organic way.

Mastering dialogue is a key aspect of how to improve storytelling in editorial. It adds depth and dynamism to your story, and brings your characters to life. So, take the time to craft dialogue that's engaging, revealing, and true to your characters.

Create a Strong Voice and Tone

Now that we've talked about dialogue, let's shift our focus to the overall voice and tone of your story. The voice is the unique style that sets your writing apart, while the tone is the attitude your writing conveys. So, how can you create a strong voice and tone?

Find your unique voice: Your voice is what makes your writing uniquely yours. It's the rhythm, the choice of words, the sentence structure, and the way you convey your thoughts. To find your voice, think about what makes you unique as a writer. What's your perspective? What are your values? What's your style? Then, infuse these elements into your writing.

Set the right tone: The tone of your story should match its content and purpose. If you're writing a suspenseful thriller, the tone should be tense and mysterious. If you're writing a heartwarming family story, the tone should be warm and emotional. Use your choice of words, your sentence structure, and your pacing to set the tone.

Be consistent: Once you've found your voice and set your tone, be consistent. A sudden shift in voice or tone can confuse your readers and break their immersion in your story.

Express emotion: A strong voice and tone can help you express emotion in your story. They can make your readers feel what your characters are feeling, and draw them deeper into your story.

Creating a strong voice and tone is a crucial part of how to improve storytelling in editorial. It sets your writing apart, engages your readers, and brings your story to life. So, take the time to find your unique voice, set the right tone, and be consistent in your writing.

How to Use Foreshadowing and Suspense

Ever read a story that kept you at the edge of your seat, your eyes glued to the page, unable to put the book down? That's the magic of foreshadowing and suspense. Let's explore how to weave these elements into your editorial storytelling.

Planting seeds: Foreshadowing is a hint of what's to come. It's a seed you plant early in the story that blooms later on. To master foreshadowing, drop subtle hints about the future events of your story. Make sure they're just vague enough that they won't give the plot away, but clear enough that your readers will have an "Aha!" moment when they see the hints pay off.

Building tension: Suspense is all about uncertainty. It's the tension that keeps your readers turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next. To build suspense, put your characters in situations with high stakes. Make your readers care about what happens to them. Then, delay the resolution of these situations. The longer you keep your readers in suspense, the more invested they'll be in your story.

Timing is key: The secret to effective foreshadowing and suspense is timing. Too much too soon can give the plot away, while too little can leave your readers feeling lost. Strike a balance. Tease future events early on, build suspense gradually, and pay off your foreshadowing at the right time.

Keep them guessing: A great way to maintain suspense is to keep your readers guessing. Throw in unexpected twists and turns. Make them question what they thought they knew about the story. The more you keep them guessing, the more engaged they'll be.

Mastering foreshadowing and suspense is an essential step in learning how to improve storytelling in editorial. It keeps your readers engaged, drives your plot forward, and makes your story unforgettable. So, start planting those seeds and building that tension!

Why Revision is Key

How many times have you read a draft and thought, "This is perfect, no changes needed!" If you're anything like most writers, the answer might be, well, never. That's because writing is rewriting. Let's talk about why revision is so important in editorial storytelling.

Fixing mistakes: No one gets it right on the first try. There might be misspelled words, awkward sentences, or plot holes in your first draft. Revision gives you a chance to go back and fix these mistakes. It's like cleaning up after a party. Sure, the party was fun, but now it's time to roll up your sleeves and make your space shine again.

Improving clarity: Sometimes, what's clear in your head doesn't come across as clearly on the page. You know what you mean, but will your readers? Revision allows you to look at your work with fresh eyes and make sure your meaning is crystal clear. It's all about making sure the picture in your head matches the one you're painting for your readers.

Enhancing your story: Revision isn't just about fixing mistakes and clarifying your meaning. It's also about making your story the best it can be. Maybe a scene could be more dramatic, or a character could be more fleshed out. Maybe the pacing is off, or your foreshadowing could be stronger. Revision is your chance to take a good story and make it great.

Learning and growing: Each time you revise, you learn more about your writing. You start to notice patterns: what you're good at, where you could use some work, what you tend to overlook. Revision is a chance to learn from your mistakes and grow as a writer.

Revision is a key step in improving editorial storytelling. It's not always the most fun part of the process, but it's where the real magic happens. So next time you're tempted to skip it, remember: writing is rewriting.

If you enjoyed learning about storytelling in editorial and want to take your skills even further, be sure to check out the workshop 'Editorial Submissions: Shoot Development To Publication' by Jose Espaillat. This workshop will guide you through the process of developing your editorial shoot concepts and provide invaluable tips on how to get your work published. Don't miss out on this opportunity to elevate your editorial storytelling!