The Wonderful Fictional Ecosystem

Why, hello there!

For my first post, I thought I’d start with something easy and focus on the very basics of what makes up a story.

There are several components that must be acknowledged in order to tell an adequate story. Character, theme, point-of-view, setting, plot, description, dialogue, and voice all work together in what you could call a fictional ecosystem.

For this post, I wanted to focus on two major players in this ecosystem. Character and plot. These two aspects work very closely together. You can’t have one without the other.

Now, when creating characters it’s important to remember that they need desires and they need problems. There are two types of desires that should be present within your story: concrete and abstract. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries. Allow me to explain. Let’s say a young girl, we’ll call her Claire, really wants to date this boy, let’s go with Jake. The concrete desire here would be wanting Jake himself, while the abstract could be Claire wanting love and maturity.

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Just in case you forgot, plot refers to the drama within the story, basically what happens on stage. The plot of your story will revolve around your major dramatic question or MDQ. This question should be directly related to your characters’ desires. Using my example from above, the MDQ could be “Will Claire finally tell Jake how she feels?” or even “Will Jake return Claire’s feelings?”

The answer to this question is what settles the conclusion of your story. There are four basic resolutions your question can have:

  • character satisfies desire
  • character does not achieve desire
  • character tackles desire, but realizes it isn’t what he/she wanted
  • character does not fulfill desire, but it is for the best

And that’s it! …well, not really. Sorry, I got a little too excited.

There is a lot more that goes into the ecosystem, but you now know the foundation! Stay tuned for future blogs that will explore the far more intricate aspects of what makes up a story.

Happy writing!

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