Realism Boost: Effective Storytelling Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Use authentic dialogue
  2. Paint vivid settings
  3. Develop 3-dimensional characters
  4. Construct realistic conflicts
  5. Write believable resolutions

There's something captivating about a story that feels real, isn't there? When the characters sound like they could be your next-door neighbors, when the settings come alive before your eyes, and the conflicts and resolutions resonate on a deeply personal level. This blog is your guide on how to improve storytelling in realism. Let's take a journey together, exploring effective techniques that will boost the realism in your storytelling and help your narratives come alive.

Use authentic dialogue

The secret to authenticity in storytelling is to create dialogue that feels real and relatable. Here's how to make that happen:

Get to Know Your Characters

Before you put words in your characters' mouths, spend some time understanding who they are. What's their background? What are their likes and dislikes? How would they react in different situations? The more you know about your characters, the easier it will be to make their dialogue authentic.

Listen to Real Conversations

A great way to improve your storytelling in realism is to pay attention to the way people talk in real life. Listen to the rhythm, the tone, the choice of words, the pauses—every detail counts. Use this as inspiration to make your characters' conversations feel more genuine.

Use Appropriate Language

  • Match the language to the character: A college professor will speak differently than a high school dropout. Make sure the language you use fits the character's background, age, education, and personality.
  • Avoid anachronisms: If your story is set in a different time period, research the way people talked back then. Modern phrases and slang can break the illusion of realism.

Keep Dialogue Purposeful

Every line of dialogue should serve a purpose—whether it's moving the plot forward, revealing something about the character, or setting the mood. When you're asking yourself, "how can I improve storytelling in realism?" remember that pointless chit-chat doesn't have a place in a well-crafted narrative.

The power of authentic dialogue is undeniable. It breathes life into your characters and makes your story feel real. So, next time you're crafting a narrative, remember these tips and watch your storytelling skills soar.

Paint vivid settings

Now, let's talk about the backdrop of your story—the setting. Creating vivid, realistic settings is just as important as crafting believable characters. Here's how you can do it:

Use Sensory Details

When describing a setting, don't just rely on visuals. Engage all five senses. What does the place smell like? What sounds can be heard? How does the air feel on the skin? This not only makes your setting more realistic—it also pulls your readers in and makes them feel like they're right there with your characters.

Do Your Homework

If you're writing about a place you've never visited or a time period you've never lived in, research is your best friend. Look up photos, read travel blogs, watch documentaries—do whatever you can to understand the setting inside and out. This will help you paint a more accurate and realistic picture.

Be Specific

Rather than describing a generic beach, talk about the hot, white sands of Miami Beach, the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the smell of sunscreen and salt in the air. Specificity not only makes your setting more realistic—it also makes it more memorable.

Show, Don’t Tell

Instead of telling your readers that it's a hot day, show them. Describe the sweat trickling down your character's back, the parched grass underfoot, the relentless sun bearing down. Showing rather than telling makes your setting feel more real and immersive.

So, the next time you're wondering how to improve storytelling in realism, remember—the setting is more than just a backdrop. It's a key player that can add depth and realism to your narrative. Treat it with the care it deserves, and it'll give your story a whole new dimension.

Develop 3-dimensional characters

Characters, the beating heart of any narrative. If you've ever wondered how to improve storytelling in realism, this is where you should focus your energy. Let's look at how you can create characters that feel like real, breathing individuals.

Give Your Characters Flaws

Perfect characters are boring and unrealistic. Instead, give your characters flaws—make them insecure, stubborn, or impulsive. This not only makes them more relatable but also opens up opportunities for conflict and character development.

Understand Their Motivations

Why does your character do what they do? What drives them? Understanding your characters' motivations can make their actions and decisions feel more realistic. It can also help you create more complex, interesting characters.

Let Them Grow

Real people change and grow over time, and so should your characters. Whether it's learning from their mistakes, overcoming their fears, or achieving their goals, character development can add depth and realism to your story.

Make Their Dialogue Realistic

How your characters speak can tell your readers a lot about them. Make your dialogue realistic—use slang, contractions, and colloquial language where appropriate. This can help bring your characters to life and make them feel more real.

Remember, creating realistic characters isn't just about making them likable—it's about making them feel real. And when your characters feel real, your readers will be more invested in their journeys.

Construct realistic conflicts

Moving on to the bones of your narrative - conflict. A well-constructed conflict can keep your readers hooked and make your storytelling more realistic. So, how can you make your conflicts more believable?

Base Conflicts on Real-Life Issues

Realism in storytelling often stems from relatability. When you base your conflicts on real-life issues — be it a personal struggle, societal problem or a relationship issue, you allow your readers to connect with the story on a deeper level.

Ensure Conflicts are Solvable

While it can be tempting to create grand, insurmountable conflicts, remember, the key is realism. Make sure your conflicts are solvable. Your characters may struggle, they may fail, but eventually, they should be able to find a way through.

Include Internal and External Conflicts

Real people face both internal and external conflicts. Your characters should too. Include both types of conflicts in your story to add depth and complexity. It's not just about what happens to them, but also how they react, and what they learn from it.

Make Conflicts Impact the Story

Every conflict should have consequences. It should affect your characters, influence their decisions, and shape the direction of your story. This can make your conflicts feel more significant and realistic.

With these tips, you're well on your way to mastering how to improve storytelling in realism. Remember, the conflict is what drives your story, so spend time crafting it.

Write believable resolutions

And lastly, let's discuss the resolution. A resolution, in realistic terms, is not always about 'happily ever after'. It's about how your characters navigate through the knots of conflict and find their own version of a solution. So, how can you craft resolutions that are both engaging and realistic? Let's find out.

Keep it Real

Remember, your story is rooted in realism. So, your resolution should reflect that. Not every problem has a perfect solution, and that's okay. Your characters may have to compromise, or they may not completely resolve their conflict. This can make your resolution feel more authentic and relatable.

Character Growth is Key

What's more important than the resolution itself is how your characters grow from it. Maybe they learn a valuable lesson, or perhaps they change as a person. This growth can make your resolution more meaningful and satisfying for your readers.

Show the Consequences

Every action has consequences. The same goes for your story's resolution. Show how the resolution impacts your characters and their world. This can add a layer of realism to your story and make your resolution more believable.

Leave Some Threads Unresolved

And finally, remember that not all threads need to be tied up neatly. Leaving some questions unanswered or some conflicts unresolved can make your story feel more like real life. After all, in reality, not everything wraps up cleanly.

And there you have it! These tips should guide you on how to improve storytelling in realism, specifically when crafting believable resolutions. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, so make sure your resolutions reflect the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of your characters.

If you're eager to enhance your storytelling abilities and bring a sense of realism to your work, don't miss Mirelle Ortega's workshop, 'Storytelling In Illustration.' This workshop offers valuable insights and techniques to help you create captivating and realistic stories through the art of illustration.