“What’s Your Story? The 5 Essential Questions of Good Storytelling.”
- Who is your main character?
- What does the protagonist want?
- What’s standing in the way of getting it?
- Do they succeed or fail?
- How did the protagonist change?
I shall share the notes I took during Dale’s seminar, but I would urge you to contact her directly if you need help with your story structure. Dale was my editor, and I truly admire her expert skills at “seeing” the entire story and molding it into one meaningful structure. Her website is: manuscriptconsultant.com
1). When you ask yourself who is your main character? It could be one person or a group protagonist. For example (a group in a lifeboat) all want the same thing. You can also have a dual protagonist, (a couple) or two protagonists with two story lines.
2). What does your protagonist want? This want, is what drives the entire story. Each scene want is different from the overarching want. The want has to be a life or death need for the character.
3). What’s standing in the way of getting it? is where the antagonist forces or obstacles (usually more than one thing) stand in the way. There is conflict, and this must always drive the story forward.
4). Do they succeed or fail? This is the resolution. Do they get what they want? The central dramatic question is answered. Will they succeed?
5). How did the protagonist change? The protagonist(s) has to change in some way. They start out, they have struggles, they become a new being because of it. It can be a subtle change, or a dramatic change, but there has to be an evolution.
Dale covered these 5 questions in far more detail during her presentation. I just wanted to give you a few tips to help you think about your story structure.
DALE GRIFFITHS STAMOS is a teacher, a writer, and an award-winning playwright. Please check out her bio here.
I’m in Florida on vacation and shall post photos from my trip to Key West, and Naples on my Facebook page from time to time. Please check them out.
Janet simcic says
Loved your tips. I always make a biography of my characters to ensure conflict, thus tension.
Your tips are always clear and concise!
Sonia Marsh says
Glad you found these tips helpful.