On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Story Question

Once you have the heart, it suggests the overall shape of the story. The attainment of a goal needs to be something tangible, something that clearly indicates success or failure in the story.

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo and Juliet want to run away, be married, and live peacefully together in love. Failure occurs if they are not able to escape.
The story question is: Will Romeo and Juliet be able to escape?


The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy longs to return home. Failure occurs if she is unable to return home.
The story question is: Will Dorothy be able to return home?


The Hunt for Red October: Ramius wishes to escape the repressive Soviet Union and live in the United States. Failure occurs if he is caught escaping.
The story question is: Will Ramius be able to escape to freedom?


The Fellowship of the Ring: Frodo must destroy the One Ring. Failure occurs if the ring is not destroyed.
The story question is: Will Frodo be able to destroy the One Ring?


What does your protagonist ultimately want? Make it very specific, so that its attainment or lack thereof clearly indicates success or failure. Write down your story question.

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