Fiction File: The Third Piece of A Great Story is…

Today’s the first Monday of 2014. Another first for the year, already. Here’s to enjoying another awesome day.

Let’s get to it.

Last year (it’s still odd saying that), I wrote about the three pieces that every story needs to be successful. Pieces one and two have already been covered.

After I got sidetracked by other posts, I realized I almost left you all hanging about what the third piece is. I mentioned it in this post, but only brushed past it.

After character and setting, you have…


Now, we’ll dig a lot deeper. Plotting deserves several posts, so we’ll do a little bit today.

Characters, in a place, doing something. That something is the plot.

Lots of room for flexibility there. And thousands of books and stories have been written on variations of character, setting, plot.

A good starting point for a plot would be the character and setting in your story (which is why I covered both of those first).

For example, a character in a zero-gravity environment won’t have the challenges of a desert or 100% nitrogen environment. And that’s just dealing with one aspect of your setting. The more complex your setting and characters are, the more opportunities you have for plots (as well as more stories and/or books).

I’ve covered some ideas on putting the Big Three in action here. And if you want to start the other way, you can.

But let’s play around with plot some more (as writers, we enjoy coming up with new angles, after all). Let’s take Neil, a single twenty-year-old dude with an awesome job, in a futuristic society that places a lot of emphasis on looks and cash (this may sound a little too familiar, but stay with me). What plots could we come up with?

To kick off the rush of creative juice, we’ll start with writing’s most cherished question–“What if?”

What if…

Neil meets a girl he likes, but finds out his job won’t support them both?

A long-lost friend confesses she loves Neil, and the feeling is mutual, but she’s finalizing a divorce with a man she’s gotten a restraining order against?

Someone finds out Neil deals with society’s emphasis on looks by using his ability as a shapeshifter–an illegal act where he lives?

Neil is carjacked one weekend–and it’s the law that no one can be without a car for more than two days? What if the dealership won’t be open in time, and borrowing is another no-no?

Being poor is a crime where Neil lives, he lost his job last month, and folks who are arrested can’t be hired?

What else could you come up with, based on things you add (or take out) from the ideas here?

That wraps things up. This post marks the end of the Big Three–character, setting, and plot. If this post helped you, I’d appreciate you dropping me a comment below.

And keep an eye out. In the next File, we’ll go over the secret fourth element to the Big Three that probably made you want to write the story ideas above (or at least think more about ’em).

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
This entry was posted in Fiction Files, Plot and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fiction File: The Third Piece of A Great Story is…

  1. Pingback: Fiction File: Every Story Needs a Dose of… | Fiction and Copy Decoded

  2. Pingback: American Idol Results, A New Blog Segment, And Moving Ahead… | Fiction and Copy Decoded

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s