1.6 – How To Tell a Story

In this episode I . . .

Define story.

-A story is: Character(s) + Life + . . .

Here we have some characters living life. First, Jack and Jill are going up the hill to fetch a pail of water. That’s life for them. Next, Little Red Riding Hood is taking a basket of goodies to her grandmother’s house. Then we have the Pevensie children, tagged and ready to be shipped off to live with relatives in the midst of World War II. That was life for many children in London during that tumultuous time.¬†And finally Frodo. He is excited to see Gandalf, who has come to the Shire to celebrate Bilbo’s birthday.

-A story is: Character(s) + Life + Problem

All our characters have stumbled into some problems. First, Jack fell down the hill, and Jill came tumbling after. Ouch. Red Riding Hood meets a wolf in the forest. Uh oh. Back to the Pevensie children, while playing hide and seek, Lucy hides in a wardrobe that takes her into a magical land, which isn’t a problem until Edmund goes over and meets the White Witch. And Frodo inherits a ring. A ring that brings with it all kinds of problems.

-Characters are who the story is about.

-The problem is what happens, which is also called the plot.

-A plot is the events that happen to your characters that move the story along toward solving an end goal.

And that’s the gist of a story. You need a character living life, and then a problem comes along, and they spend the rest of the story trying to solve that problem until they reach the end and succeed or fail.

Doesn’t that sound easy? Then why is it so hard?

If you’re overwhelmed, forget everything else and just keep writing.