Last week I read the simplest formula for how to tell a good story.
It goes like this:
A character has a problem.
He meets a mentor who (1) helps him with a plan and (2) inspires him to act.
The resulting actions turn into a comedy or a tragedy.
I like that.
It’s simple and straight to the point.
If you think about it, most movies and novels are written that way.
Hollywood demands a problem within the first 10 minutes of the movie or TV show. Books are now doing the same.
Then the main character spends the rest of his time acting on a plan somebody he trusts has given him. That’s his first mistake.
Of course he spends more time failing than succeeding because he has to keep you in your seat eating popcorn. That’s what he gets paid the big bucks for.
Eventually she solves her problem and everything gets resolved. Or maybe not. If you’re building suspense for the next sequel she’s hanging from a zip-line that’s stuck over a whitewater river in a forest populated with cannibals.
I’ve always wanted to write a novel with a fellow writer. I believe two heads are more creative than one. Plus I always get stuck in the middle of a story when everything is coming undone and I need help figuring a way out.