Want to write a great story every time you sit down to write?
Last weekend, I decided to clean and organize the pantry. A boring chore and I really wanted to sit and read but I decided to make the most of it. I pulled out my Ipad and clicked on the Tubi TV app and skimmed through their movie selection. One synopsis caught my eye for a movie called The Trails of Cate Mccall.
I thought I’d let it play in the background while I went about the cleaning and organizing, but all of a sudden, I was riveted by the movie. I stopped what I was doing, sat at the table and watched it to the end.
While I was doing that, I thought, I have to tell my students to watch this because it best explains what I tell them about the essential elements of any good story.
I thought I’d share them with you too-
A Sympathetic Character
Every good story has a character that the reader can identify with and if possible, sympathize with too.
A Clear Goal
A goal that is clearly spelled out to the reader, no broad terms like save the world, but specific to that person.
No great tale is ever about a character who gets what they want from the beginning. Something or someone has to stand in their way.
The Moment of Brief Relief
Every story needs to reach a point where the reader thinks everything is going to be okay…but then…
The Plot Reversal
Every great story has the moment where the reader thinks, I didn’t see that coming
Things Get Worse
After the plot reversal comes the lowest point for the character, you’re pulling for them, telling them you know they can do this, just hang in there.
The Change of Character
No character should be the same person they were at the beginning of your story. They’ve been through a lot, they’ve changed through some interaction with the world or other characters. They’ve emerged a new person with often a new perspective that sometimes give them the drive for…
Your character and reader is rewarded with the happy ever after or at least a happy for now ending.
This movie contained all of the above and it’s what pulled me in. If it had been a book, well, I probably would have read it in one day.
Incorporating all these elements sounds simple, but it’s, sometimes harder than it seems. However, I promise you include all of the above and you’ve got a story that an editor or agent won’t reject.