Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Try/Fail Cycles with Yes, But/No, And

Protagonist Climb!!!

Live to Write - Write to Live

Without conflict, there is no story. You’ve probably heard this before, and it’s true. For a story to work, you need:

a) A protagonist who wants something, and

b) Something to get in the way of the protagonist achieving that goal

You need to give your protagonist a treasure to find, a dragon to slay, a puzzle to solve, or a lover to woo. And then you need to put obstacles between your protagonist and the prize. Your story will look something like this:

try cycle hero

Of course, your protagonist doesn’t just go charging straight through all those obstacles. Instead, most stories have the protagonist working through the obstacles one at a time, with the level of difficulty and stakes rising at each turn. This creates a “story arc” that looks something like this:

try cycle 1

But, in better stories, the protagonist’s climb up that arc is anything but smooth. No easy stroll up…

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