This is a writing prompt from Louise Cusack.

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Image source: Flickr / vince_kusters

Either before or after you finish writing draft of a fiction novel, you need to think about the big picture of the structure, to clarify whether you have a strong, tightly plotted novel, or just a series of “events” that don’t really follow a strong central thread. An easy way to assess the strength of a story’s structure is to see if you can readily clarify Goal, Motivation, Conflict. (TIP: if you can’t, you need to work on that!)

 

I set it out like this:

 

This is a story about................................(your main CHARACTER)

Who wants...................................................(a worthy GOAL that has consequences if it’s not achieved)

Because.................................................(what MOTIVATION drives them to keep going when a sensible person would give up)

But............................................(what CONFLICT stops them achieving their goal immediately, thus giving you time to create an interesting story)

 

If you want, you can also add:

This is situation is resolved by..................................................................(clarify whether the character either achieves, or doesn’t achieve, the goal and why)


Louise Cusack lives in Australia, in a tiny fishing village on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. She's a long-time vegetarian and caffeine addict who mentors other writers from her website www.ifyoumustwrite.com when she isn't writing herself. A Trekkie from way back, she loves all thing science fiction and fantasy, especially if it has a good love story. Louise has been published by Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Pan Macmillan and she also works with computer game companies to develop fantasy and sci fi world-building. Details of her books are at www.louisecusack.com and you can also connect with her at: Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  YouTube

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samvanz

Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.