Narrative Writing



Your main character does not exist in a vacuum. He operates against a backdrop of trouble that forces him to act. That backdrop, that external state of affairs, is your story situation.

               — Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer

Most of us are lazy, and we don't act unless something forces us to act.

What is going to force your main character to act?

Usually, it's that

Study the following examples. The highlighted sentences summarize the story situation.

Bernard Stanley is a shy baker. His wife died five years ago, and now he is terribly lonely.

Sonja Simmons is an adventurous college student. While hiking in the wilderness, she discovers a mountain cave.

Mario Lynch is a grumpy detective. One day, a client hires him to investigate a gruesome murder.

Now it's your turn. What is the problem or trouble or predicament that forces your protagonist to act?

Write it down.

There is no quiz for this lesson.