Spicing up a story

I don’t know about you, but writing a story to me is like peeling away an onion. Or making an onion—whichever way you want to look at it. Each layer is important—leave one out and the whole lacks flavour.

I’ve just written a short story where I knew I had a great set of characters, a setting that helped spike the tension, and a situation that led to some interesting developments.

But it was not enough, as my critique partner pointed out.

It lacked plot: you know that element that keeps readers turning the pages 🙂

To me, plot often translates into a question, or a set of questions that readers are forced to ask and as a result continue reading to find out what happens. We’re all curious beings, but my story moved from A to B.

The solution was fairly easy to find: look at the characters. Any story has a protagonist and some form of antagonist. In my case, the antagonist was not quite the one I had thought of first. And once you know who your characters are, where they’re coming from, what has led them to this moment in time, then very often you have a clash where the protagonist wants something, and the antagonist is doing his or its best to thwart him/her getting it.

Add a dash of mystery and start writing. Or re-writing in my case.

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Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy

I’m currently reading Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy and I’m hooked. The protagonist is a young orphan, Alina Starkov, who in a moment of crisis uses a power she was unaware she possessed to save herself and her best friend. Alina’s rare power could be the key to save her country Ravka from its enemies. So, she is forced to leave all that she’s ever known to join the Grisha, a magical community led by the handsome but mysterious Darkling. The problem is: just who is the enemy?

 

Bardugo’s writing is crisp and fast-paced. And her setting her fantasy in a country reminiscent of old Russia is another plus for me. So far I’ve read Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. I can hardly wait to dip into the last book of the set: Ruin and Rising.