Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Go Ahead — Write This Story: What causes problems?

In a story, someone needs to have a problem or conflict. What causes that? Do you blame people or situations?

Conflict can be caused by moral failings, by some people being bad, and the solution is to get rid of the bad people.

Or conflict can arise because people compete for limited resources or try to achieve good outcomes in bad situations. That is, conflicts can be caused by real-world constraints, and the solution requires changing the world or our means to cope with it.

The first cause – bad people – is usually easier to write about, but the second cause – bad situations – is usually more realistic and painful.

If you need a problem for a story, here are a few:

• This is an alternate history story in which William the Conqueror’s invasion of Britain failed three hundred years earlier, and now France and Britain are negotiating to unite against Holy Roman Emperor Frederic III.

• This is a story in which a school decides to eliminate bullying by monitoring every minute of its students’ lives, and how the bullies, as usual the more popular students, try to foil that plan.

• This is a thriller in which aliens land in Russia – satellites and on-site observers have confirmed this and even uploaded videos to YouTube – but the government blocks all further information.

— Sue Burke
Tags: writing ideas

  • Different beauty, equal beauty

    A Ming Dynasty vase and an ancient Greek urn share beauty but not aesthetics. The artisans of the different styles might have appreciated each…

  • Translating poetry: a thorny problem

    Here's a brief article by me about difficulties of translating poetry and ways to deal with them: compensation, paraphrase, adaptation, and word…

  • Individualism vs. Individualismo

    In English, “individualism” means self-reliance and personal independence. Its connotation can lean toward eccentricity. (American…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.