The Damsel-in-Distress

The most obvious example of the plot puppet is the damsel-in-distress. They are usually a woman who exists for the hero to rescue and often to fall in love with him. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a woman who is rescued by and falls in love with the hero, but the damsel-in-distress is often […]

Breaking Away From Character

As well as turning the characters into plot puppets there’s a risk of turning them into puppets to make a point. One of the main risks of this is putting a point in the mouth of a character who would never make that point. This is risky because we build these characters up and readers […]

Everything Happens For a Reason

We’ve established that characters need to have a logical reason for their actions beyond the necessity of the plot but we still need to have a plot. Whatever kind of story we write it’s a combination of character and plot, sometimes the characters drive the plot and sometimes the plot drives the characters. Characters might […]

Falling Prey to the Plot Puppet

Our story has a plot, even if we keep it simple such as two people meeting and falling in love. Problems arise when out characters conspicuously do things purely for plot purposes rather than for ones that fit the characters. The most obvious one is the damsel-in-distress whose only purpose in the story is to […]

The Grand Scheme Revisited

Some characters always have a plan, they’re always working out the angles, whether trying to work out what people are really thinking, watching the exits or figuring out the next con. This can all be included in an internal monologue, not necessarily all at once but we can build up the reader’s knowledge of how […]

Everything Ends Revisited

As we’ve discussed in previous articles sometimes our characters don’t survive the story, or do they? There are many instances in the history of literature where characters appear to have died but have returned. The most famous possibly being Sherlock Holmes who died but was resurrected by popular demand. The problem we might have, other […]

What Doesn’t Kill Me Revisited

A problem that can often arise, particularly in series fiction, is that a protagonist needs to get more ‘powerful’ to defeat the antagonist but then the next antagonist needs to be more ‘powerful’ so the protagonist gets more ‘powerful’ and on and on it goes until the protagonist is so ‘powerful’ the likelihood of them […]

The Villain as a Reflection Revisited

It is a common trope in fiction for the ‘villain’ and the ‘hero’ to be two sides of the same coin. Sometimes this is in the form of ‘what if the hero’s life had gone a different way could they be the villain?’ or, alternatively, it can be the hero and the villain sharing similar […]

Creating Romantic Tension Revisited

One of the issues with writing a romance plot or sub-plot can be a sense that the characters have fallen in love ‘too soon’. Perhaps this phrasing is slightly misleading; we can have romantic tension where characters fall in love but don’t realise it or are kept apart, we might have the slowly growing romance, […]

Creating Romance Arcs Revisited

Once again I’m going to say you don’t have to plan out a story before you begin, we can easily shape it after we finish the first draft. And when I refer to arcs I’m not going to give you a rigid structure, partly due to the potential variation in stories and partly because a […]