• Writers' Block North East

Writing Exercise: Who is driving this thing?

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

Your hero gets dragged off the street, bundled into a car and taken to a disused warehouse. They are told they need to steal a suitcase from a bank vault hidden under a volcano or they'll get shot. They agree to do it. On their way to do the job they are arrested, and told by the morally-ambiguous detective that they must wear a wire while pulling the heist or they'll get shot, so they do, but the villains discover this and kidnap your hero's goldfish and warn her that unless blah blah blah


It's all kind of exciting, isn't it? Stuff is definitely happening, isn't it? Well, ye-e-es, but what we're really reading about here is not an active protagonist; it's a leaf on the breeze, a dog on a lead... a wheelbarrow.


Great stories aren't just a bunch of stuff happening to some poor human. Great stories are about the stuff that happens because of the stuff that your hero decides to do.


What decisions does your protagonist make? Good decisions! Bad decisions! Doing the right thing for the wrong reason, the wrong thing for the right reason... It's all good. It's all story. The main thing is that they make decisions, and aren't just being pushed up and down the path like a wheelbarrow.



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