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

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