Plot dilemma

Question: For a while now I have had an idea for a really brilliant character, but I simply can't think of a story to go with it. This is as far as I've gotten: a young girl who can feel the pain of all other human beings and who is destined to become a kind of God and bring peace to humanity together with another person who can only experience peoples positive emotions.


I'm working on other stories as well that seem to have more potential but I don't want to forget about this character. What can I do?

Answer: One approach is to make a list of questions about your story - all the unknowns, including the ones that are currently bothering you.

You can do this in a more formal way, using the 8 elements of plot (http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html). For instance, you already have some idea what the Story Goal is - to bring peace to humanity (which implies humanity is at war or at risk of going to war). So then you might ask what the Consequence would be if the goal is not achieved. That might suggest the beginnings of a plot. You can do the same for the other six elements.

You also have a main character and a potential impact character, which sets you up for a thematic conflict between two types of empathy.

You can also think about what type of story you want to write, what interests you in terms of genre, audience, and theme. Are you more interested in writing this story for adults, young adults, or children?

Do you see it as a happy ending or tragedy? Is this science fiction, paranormal, romance, historical, or some combination of genres? Each genre has certain conventions and can give you ideas about how you might use those conventions in your story.

Aside from these more formal issues, you can simply make a list of whatever questions pop into your head concerning your story. You can even get friends to suggest questions.

Once you've got a substantial list, take each question in turn and list possible answers.

As you do this, you will start to find answers that fit with each other and story ideas should start to emerge.

It may take time, and you may not want to take the first ideas that come along. In fact, you may find the best ideas come to you unexpectedly at odd times of day. The process of spending focused time on your story will get your subconscious mind working and it may present the answers when it's ready.

In the end, you want a story idea that really grabs you, feels exactly right, and gets you excited.

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 Questions About Novel Writing.


 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