Write Better Stories, Part 1: Painting The Layers Of Your Story

Dan Alatorre

A good story is basically “Somebody wanted something and they had to overcome an obstacle to get it.”

Without that… no story, really.

(The stories that really make readers do flip flops (in a good way) have surprises. The premise “nothing is as it appears” is an awesome storytelling device, and is the main underpinning of several of my stories. It’s a kick when Critique Partners go “Didn’t see that coming!” Do it when you can.)

So… let us begin at the beginning.

PLOT

Fred goes to the store.

That’s a story. Simple and effective, but not very interesting. Nobody’s reading that story. Because there’s no obstacle to overcome, and we said in a GOOD story they had to overcome OBSTACLES to get what they wanted. Fred wants something, yes. He has to go to the store to get it, so technically the distance between him and the store is…

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