I have no idea where to start. Please help!

by Natasha
(Beacon, New York)

Question: I have this story I'm writing, called Brotherhood, and I can't seem to plot it out right. I always end up confused and stuck. My problem, in my opinion, is that I don't know what my main character wants or the story goal is supposed to be. I have tried to come up with external and internal conflicts but its hard for me. You see, my plot revolves around my main character, a wolf actually, who has OCD. I myself have OCD so I know about the experience. Anyway, my theme is "You can't live a positive life with a negative mind", and I'm wondering how I can show that throughout the story. Thanks in advance.

Answer: That premise sounds like you're writing a tragedy in which the main character's "negative mind" makes it impossible for him/her to live a positive life. Hence, the consequence--a negative life--would be the outcome.

Bear in mind that, in a tragedy, the story goal does not occur, rather the consequence does. The opposite is true for a happy ending. So the goal would be the "positive life," whatever that means to the character.

What I would suggest is that you try to imagine what the world would look like if the story were to have a happy ending. If it were a film, what would the last shot be? For instance, in a classic romantic comedy, it might be the wedding photo. In a story about killing a monster, it might be the celebration of the victory. In a war story it might be the hero returning home and hugging his children.

Do the same for the consequence. What would a "negative life" look like? Dying alone? Ending up in poverty? Being burned at the stake by an angry mob? Being put in a zoo? Try to think of an image that would capture it.

Check out this article, if you haven't already...


Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero