THE SEVEN ELEMENTS OF A COMPELLING STORY
1. WHAT DOES YOUR CHARACTER WANT? (a/k/a, THE GOAL)
Some examples of goals:
- Love, appreciation
- the need to be understood
- defeat of an enemy
- basic human survival
- recovery from trauma
- closure after tragedy
- finding a reason to live
- finding a purpose
- making peace with the past
- triumph over adversity of any kind.
2. WHAT'S STOPPING HIM/HER FROM GETTING IT? (a/k/a CONFLICT):
- Conflict takes many forms: Oneself (we are our own worst enemy), other people, situations.
- Infuse conflict into every scene.
3. WHY SHOULD YOUR READERS CARE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER'S STRUGGLE? (a/k/a SYMPATHY)
- Reveal the truth about your hero, even if he doesn't know it himself.
- Give your characters layers and dimension—even villains are human beings; even heroes have flaws.
- Go easy on the self-pity, even infuse humor if possible.