How to plan a realistic course of events.

by Anna
(Thailand)

Question: My main problem, which makes writing for me almost impossible, is the lack of understanding real-life events.


Like how to get person X from point A to point B without possibly being seen.

Or dump character Y into a new world and, before he learns how to behave in a place with totally alien mentality and rules, get him across the beginning safe and sound.

Or get a character to discover secret information without it being to banal or cliche, with the readers raging that what he or she did could never have worked in the real world.

I'm practically ending how to use common sense here :/ So to be more specific, my question is how to find the RIGHT ROUTE to achieve a goal.

Not just the main goal, but the pinpoint, or bus-stops, that get the character there eg. right way to meet a person, best way to avoid something, and most important, logical thinking.

Like how does one get to deciding upon killing someone, or when would be the best time for a person to get suspicious and start investigating without it seeming like the author is creating stupid characters to rush the events and make the readers rage.

Hope I've made it clear enough to understand. Even a short advice on critical thinking to AVOID LOOPHOLES will be appreciated. :)

Answer: The main sources writers draw upon are...

1) Personal experience. If you don't have it, you might consider getting it. For instance, if you've never scuba dived, you could take a lesson. (Of course, you have to be a swimmer already. Don't try anything dangerous if you're not prepared.)

2) Research. In the above example, you might interview some people who scuba dive or read some blogs on scuba diving to find out what people's general experiences are. If you want a character to investigate something, perhaps talk to a private investigator or a police detective or read up on criminal investigation methods.

3. Imagination. This is especially important if your character must do something no one else has or be in a situation unlike any in your experience or research - for instance an alien environment. Try to find analogous situations in your research and experience and then let your imagination infer the rest.

Fortunately, you also have certain instincts. For instance, it sounds like you have a sense when a story seems unrealistic. That instinct will tell you what to revise. Experiment with different solutions until you find something that feels real, something that at least is not at odds with your experience, research, instinct, or imagination.

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