A Story is More Than a Good Idea

Many times, writers write what they think is a good story, but it's really only a good idea for a story.

That's because it doesn't include all the elements needed for a full-fledged story.

A story has a protagonist who has a big problem to solve.

As the plot thickens, this character struggles and struggles to solve the problem.

As he does, he encounters obstacles at every turn until, finally, he is able to solve (or at least resolve) the problem.

In doing so, this character changes or grows somehow, so he is no longer the same person he was at the start of the story.

He may be a little wiser now, or a bit more careful, or maybe he just has a better understanding of what he wanted in the first place.

An incident is simply a series of actions and occurrences in a character's life.

But these things don't change the character.

By the end of the final page, he is exactly the same person he was on page one.

Does your fiction contain all of the story elements?

If not, chances are you have written an incident and not a full-fledged story.

In other words, you might have a good idea for a story, but what you have written isn't yet a good story.

Give your main character a big problem to solve right at the start.

The problem could be something he wants, or somewhere he must go, or someone he must find.

As he tries to solve his problem, give him plenty of obstacles—to make things harder and harder for him before he is able to solve the problem and change somehow as a result of this struggle.

All this will make for a good story and not just a good idea for a story.

Try it!

If you're stuck writing your novel, read this to get unstuck.

For more tips, resources, and other helpful information about writing and the business of writing, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 36 published books. Visit her blog for writers at www.writebythesea.com.

1 comment:

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, I love your breakdown of what makes a full-fledged story. As a children's ghostwriter, I get a number of clients who don't realize what it means to have a full story arc. Thanks for sharing.

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