Monday, July 9, 2007

Getting From Here to There

The basis of most storytelling involves getting a character from here to there. Along the way, of course, is a struggle that needs to be overcome. Traditionally, there are four main struggles that prevent characters from getting from here to there. They include:

  • Man vs. Man (Rocky, The Iliad)
  • Man vs. Nature (Call of the Wild, Castaway)
  • Man vs. Establishment (1984, Office Space)
  • Man vs. Self (Crime and Punishment, The Shining)
In each instance, when a protagonist overcomes an adversary, getting from here to there is accomplished and readers are happy. When writing, however, it is easy to lose steam on a story when we are to a point that lacks clarity in direction. At these times, it can be helpful to revisit the above list. What is preventing your character from getting from here to there? What you thought was a Man vs. Man story, might actually be a Man vs. Self story, and fighting that inevitability is what is slowing or stopping your progress.

Getting from here to there isn't always easy, but being mindful that it is the true challenge will help you find new and creative ways to accomplish just such a feat.

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