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This is an excerpt from my upcoming pocket guide book for writers!
copyright@ Damaris Irungu Ochieng’ – Do not reprint this without the express permission from the author.
WHAT IS STORY?
S.T.O.R.Y- A five letter word that brings about excitement and bouts of panicky sweat all in the same breathe for us writers, as we wonder if anyone will like the story we’ve worked on, the film idea, the pitch.
So how exactly do we define this word ‘story’?
Story has many definitions. The one I came across that really resonated with me and helped me in my writing journey is; someone wants something badly and is having difficulty getting it. It might look like such a simple definition but if you look at it closely you will see that it’s packed with such important content. Let’s break down this definition.
Someone- Is the main character, the person whose life we follow, the one who is most affected by the story. The one we root for. In professional terms, the story’s protagonist (We will discuss more on the protagonist shortly)
Let’s now look at
Wants- This is what they desire and sometimes what they need.
Badly– Something is at stake if they don’t get what they want. They are going to lose something big. It’s going to cost them, in short, something will give, if they don’t get what they want badly. Or they will gain big if they get what they want. So, something is at stake. A big gain or a big loss.
Difficulty- This means the obstacles in the way of the character. The obstacles brought about by the antagonist who opposes your protagonist (main character) or other types of antagonistic forces. Obstacles can also be in the form of your main characters’ fatal flaw, a weakness that gets in their way as they go for their goal.
Once you nail down this definition of what story is, then the rest of the things you need to learn fall into place.
Happy writing and creating!