Characters but no plot

Question: I've developed a handful of characters as well as a potential main protagonist for a very long time. I've studied a lot on what makes a good character and how to add depth to their personalities. Now that I've set that up, I suddenly realize that I have no plot. I've tried to come up with plot ideas using techniques I've read about but I can't seem to come up with anything that gets me excited.


Answer: Perhaps start with asking what your characters want out of life. What bothers them? What issues do they struggle with? Every protagonist has some imbalance, some lack, some problem in his life. That's where story goals come from.

Alternatively, you could ask how they would respond if they were put in an unusual or dire situation, or if X happened? The basis of all disaster stories, for example, is that something unexpected occurs that throws the lives of all the characters for a loop. It gives them an immediate purpose and forces them to confront their limitations.

Of course, it doesn't have to be a violent event. The idea behind the film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?," is how someone in the 1960s would react to the prospect of interracial marriage. The film Notting Hill began from the writer wondering how his friends would react if he showed up to dinner with the most famous woman in the world on his arm.

Try brainstorming about what situation/event you would like to force your characters to deal with.

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