5 things to Do When You Have a Character But No Plot
by Graciella MK (originally posted on ryanlanz.com) Sometimes, we have a well-planned detailed character in mind, but with no plot/ story to incorporate it. This can be a frustrating process and an all too common one. If you are in a similar situation, try a few of these tips and see if it works for you. 1. Ask question, while pretending Sometimes the best way, to find a plot, is to put yourself in your character’s shoes. Think of the way your character might be feeling at that precise moment, asking questions like, are they scared, bored, angry, intrigued? After answering that question, ask yourself why your character is feeling that way. For example, I am in my room right now and I pretend to be my character, Marline. Keep in mind, that I have this whole persona created about her and I know her well. So, I will say that at this precise moment she is bored because she is not a fan of staying at home. The follow-up question would be, what can she do to not be bored, knowing Marline I’ll say that she would sneak out of the house. The trick is to ask questions after questions, till you feel that you have got an idea about a potential story. Using this tip, I was able to place Marline in a superhero genre. I felt that genre suited my character best. I recommend trying this tip, at least 3 times in different locations. Then choose the best plot idea for your character. 2. Make a list Still staying in your character’s mindset, make a list of things that can go wrong for him/ her. Then put them in one of those situations and analyse how they would deal at that moment. This is very important because a story thrives on the character’s misfortunate. 3. Conflict Conflicts are the backbone of a story, without it, you do not have an interesting story. Find out what internal conflicts your character can have/ might have, then ask yourself how your character can overcome it and what external conflict pushes them to do so. Example: Let’s say Bob is an alcoholic (internal conflict) and he needs to stop drinking because his wife is threatening to leave him if he does not stop. (external conflict) 4. Create a new character Every story needs a Protagonist and an Antagonist. In this case, why not create a whole new character that is the complete opposite of your current one. Then decide if they should be on the same side (conflict) or against each other. After figuring that out, ask yourself how the met/ could meet and what is their relationship. This helps because you have now two different characters to work with. All you must do is pin them against each other and see how they could work together (Basically, what brings them together) or how they could defeat each other. A plot could easily be born here, depending on your character’s characteristics. 5. Genre Every Genre has a specific set of rules and the plot of your story is no different. The plot somehow depends on the genre you write in. For example, Romance. The plot is depended on the chracter finding their soulmate/ love interest, through many obstacles as they both try to be happy. It is not always the same in every book, but they have similarities that can help generate your plot. You just need to configure the cliche plot of your genre, into a unique story where your character would fit in. Guest post written by Graciella MK. Graciella is the writer of the blog GraciellaMK.com, which focuses on helping new writers write their first book. She got the idea, after struggling to write her first novel years ago and vowed to start a blog as soon as she felt she earned the word Author.