6. Conflict and Plot

Page 10 of 10 | What Is a Story? | Originality Counts | Gotta Have Structure | Set the Hook | Reel 'Em In | Land 'Em |
| What If I Don't Know? | Other Times, Other Worlds | Events Follow Character | Try This at Home! |

You Can Try This at Home, Too

1. Make a list of reasons why people—and characters—make the choices they make. Here are a few to begin with:

  • Survival
  • Fear
  • Desire (for wealth, love, power)
  • Morality and ethics
  • What others can you name?

2. Look back at your exercises from the preceding sections on world building, characterization, and aliens. Pick some elements from them to use in a plot-building exercise. You may do these in any order, but always keep in mind that you're putting the various elements together. You may not want to select a wizard for your story on a space station. (Then again...)

Choose three or more characters—they need not all be human—and list them. Add new characters, if you like. Then list beside them problems, needs, or life situations they might have that you think could lead to interesting turns of plot. Start them out as enemies. Start them out as friends. What if their relationship changes?

Choose a world, a setting for the plot to take place in. It can be Earth of the present; it can be a fantasy world; it can be another planet; it can be something else entirely.

Look over your list of story ideas. Do you see something that might work with the setting and characters you've picked out?

Now, sketch out a series of events involving your characters, and see if you can create some plot threads. (Go wild. It's just an exercise. You're not going to have to write the story—unless, of course, you want to.)

Next Up: Deeper Dimensions of Conflict and Plot


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