Hi, Story Empire fans, Craig here again. I’m having a problem in my own writing, and I’m going to use today’s post to talk about it. I’m aware of the issue, and writing it out may actually help me. This is related to the all important daydreaming phase of writing.
You know I love a good analogy, and I’m going to relate the problem to a fruit tree. I’m looking for some choice fruit here. I’ve invited Lisa Burton, my personal assistant to help me out today. First slide please, Lisa.Lisa is indicating the low hanging fruit on the tree. The low hanging fruit is the easiest to reach. It will fill you up, but leaves something to be desired. In the story world, this is where you find the princesses, orphans, evil secret twins, and chosen ones. Plots might be saving the princess, stoping a great evil that just doesn’t make much sense, or avenging a father.
Low hanging fruit will fill you up, and I’ve written these kind of stories myself. I’m pretty sure we all have. There are some good stories here, but readers have gone through them before. I try to resist the low hanging fruit in favor of something else.
Next slide, Lisa.
Lisa is indicating the middle of the tree here. You have to reach a bit higher, and work a bit harder to get this fruit. In tree terms, this fruit gets a bit more sunshine, is usually prettier, and sweeter.
In story terms, maybe your character is one of the city watch. He has the training, but is kind of out of his element when he has to act alone. Maybe you have a missionary or Red Cross worker who has to change philosophy and become more militaristic to bring the story to a satisfying end.
As far as plots go, this is where the standard plots get turned on their heads. Shrek and Fiona get to live as ogres in their happily ever after. No castles and ball gowns required. This is where your bad guys become the main characters, like in some popular mafia type stories. They aren’t good people, but somehow the author makes you care anyway.
Okay, Lisa, let’s have it.
Top tier characters have likely never had their story told. Maybe she is the officer in charge of internal communications on a starship. How can those internal communications change the outcome of some major external catastrophe?
Plots involve things we just haven’t seen before, or that put a unique twist on something. Readers will love us if we can deliver all of this. This is where new genres are born.
My problem comes up occasionally. I get my stories in different ways. Right now, I’m holding some cool characters, and some good vignettes. I need a top notch plot to let them all shine.
My regular cure is more, and better quality, daydreaming. What’s your cure? No seriously, should I burn some prayers to Sauron or something? Maybe send flower’s to Poe’s grave?
The truth is most of our stories are a combination of things from the branches. I’m okay with a story that collects all levels. Right now, I need a better plot than anything I’ve got so far. I have characters, an interesting environment, a fun twist to one of the characters. I only need a driving force to assemble it all into a satisfying story.
What do you guys do to find the missing pieces? I really dislike test chapters, but that may be my next step.