Ask the Right Questions

A lot of writers have a “Eureka!” moment when they first come up with the idea for a story. They may not run naked through the streets like Archimedes, but in their minds they’re rejoicing with just as much abandon as he did. And maybe that initial idea really is a winner, the basis for a compelling, must-read story. However, that initial idea is rarely ready to support the many pages of a complex novel. That first idea is a lot like a finely crafted one-room log cabin. It may be all comfy-cozy, but rarely is it big enough or strong enough to support the expanded cast and winding plot of a novel. Your first job is to turn that simple design for a one-room cabin into the detailed blueprints for a three-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath house.

Ask the Right Questions
The nuances of a plot can be revealed by asking four crucial questions about the protagonist:
1. What does the protagonist have?
2. What does the protagonist want?
3. Who is the protagonist?
4. Who does the protagonist want to be?


These tips came from the course The Art of Storytelling 101: Story Mapping and Pacing

How do you tell the story you want to tell and capture your audience’s heart? Regardless of genre or format, to tell your story effectively you must first sort through all the ideas you’ve been toying with—organize them, whip them into shape, and turn them into great writing.

Utilizing Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, this course teaches you how to visualize your novel’s progress by examining its various components, determining where these components are going, and identifying what key components are missing.

The process of story mapping will allow you to focus on one aspect of your novel at a time—including forming and developing a dynamic concept, building strong structures, creating vibrant characters, and structuring scenes and transitions.

In this course you will:

  • Develop your idea into a concept that can sustain a novel by working through your writing in 7 thoughtful stages
  • Evaluate and improve your work by mapping out your story’s progress and structure
  • Assess your story’s strengths and weaknesses so you can write the story you want to tell

The Art of Storytelling 101: Story Mapping and Pacing

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