Seven Maxims of Storytelling, Part One


“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” — Ray Bradbury


Plight: The Source of Your Story

At the heart of every story lies a plight.

Notice that it’s not a question. Your protagonist has a plight. A problem that can’t be figured out or solved without creating another problem.

The only question is, “How effectively have you explored your protagonist’s plight?”

Through exploration of your protagonist’s plight, you come to the most dynamic version of your story, the very heart and soul of your story, the place from which all the tensions and frustrations and conflicts bubble up and erupt. Exploring the plight helps refine the clearest meaning from the raw mineral ore of your first draft. It sheds light on what doesn’t belong. It highlights those random digressions that aren’t pertinent to the central conflict and obscure its meaning. It offers clues to what still…

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