Story/plot is too boring perhaps

by Allysa

Question: I'm planning on writing a little fiction story revolving around senior high school students. It's basic gist is that a new girl transfers to her new school and tries to adjust to her new life. The story is basically random scenarios in the girl's life as a senior high schooler.

However, I want to add some drama...or "spice" to her friendship with her new best guy friend. I can't seem to come up with a situation for that...

It doesn't have to be long, as the main plot for this story is "daily lives of teenagers in school" but, got any advice for these kinds of stuff? Thanks!

Answer: I'm not sure if by "little" you mean novel length or short story.

At any rate, my biggest concern would be that the "daily lives of teenagers in school" doesn't sound like a story. At best, it would be very episodic. At worst, the problem is that most people's daily lives are rather dull. A story, on the other hand, is about an important change in someone's life, built of a series of small changes linked in a cause and effect relationship.

Even if you want to write a more character-driven story, you want a series of events that force a significant internal dilemma that can be resolved over the course of the story. Your main character must be pressured to change or mature by her relationships and external events. How she resolves her internal conflict will in turn affect the outcome of some external problem -- the story goal.

In a character-driven story, the goal may have less significance than in a plot-driven story. It may simply be a vehicle that gets the main character to interact with others. (For instance, she might try to get involved in some project, activity, or clique at the new school as a way to meet people or find a place to fit in.)

Through her new relationships -- and especially the guy (who I'm guessing will be the impact character) -- she should be pressured to change her approach, to adopt a new way of being or doing. Whether the new way is better or worse, and whether she decides ultimately to change or becomes more determined to stay with her old approach, is up to you. However, her choice should affect the success or failure of that external effort in a way that shows the reader whether the choice she makes is the right one.

One way to find the drama of the story is to figure out who your main character is when she arrives at the new school. What's her unique approach to life? How does she see the world? What are her attitudes, beliefs, wants, dreams? Does she have some unresolved emotional issues? What are the boundaries of her comfort zone?

Then imagine a character (possibly the guy) who can challenge her to step out of her comfort zone, look at the world differently, or re-examine her beliefs. How might he appeal to her emotions?

That will create internal conflict and drama that will keep your reader interested in finding out what she does next.

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