Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Story Needs A Plot

That seems so straightforward, right? Of course you need a plot. How could you write a story without one? But do you actually have one.

That was the problem my daughter posed for me the other day. She had a great idea for a character, she had a detailed backstory for her character and an event that the character was instrumental in.

But she realized that when it came down to being able to say what her story was about, she couldn't sum it up simply.

The problem was that she had a great idea, but she didn't have a plot.

I've been there plenty of times myself. Great premise, great characters, but no real 'story' happening.

So we tried answering these questions: What does your main character really want? What is stopping him/her from getting it. And what will happen if he/she doesn't get it?

Not every story will have good answers to these questions, but good answers will mean you are on your way to a well-plotted story.

We managed to brainstorm answers for her story, while she practiced driving in an empty parking lot.

In the end she felt more comfortable both behind the wheel and in the direction her story was going.

Now, what's your plot?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, Christine. I set aside a character I liked a lot because she wasn't motivated. I'd done extensive character development and world building, but she wasn't ready to fight for anything. Someday, she'll put up her fists.

    In the meantime, I'm working with a pair of teenage ghosts who get evicted from the building they haunt.