Weekend Workshop Saturday Edition Chapter 2

Is it hot enough for you? I just saw a weather alert that said we were on our 6th day over 85 this month. We only average ten days above 85 a year normally. Which explains why I am so stinking happy here. Except this week, this week sucks. LOL

So onto Chapter Two of Story Sense by Paul Lucey.

This chapter focused on ways to expand your story idea using seven values defined as frame, event, story concept, problem conflict, dramatic crisis, and theme.


Conveys the style and setting of a story. It’s the background your characters are operating on.

Research, research, research.

Carefully marble your research into the novel. Don’t brain dump, use the characters to throw in the bits that lend authenticity.


The ultimate occurrence of the story, what happens after everything else happens.

This may seem simple but guiding your work to the conclusion you want gives you the direction you’ll take your work in.

Generating a list of possible events can be done by speeding writing anything and everything you could possibly have happen for a set period of time, 15-30 minutes. Do it a few days in a row if you need to. The weed your garden. Something will stand out for you.

Story Concept

The idea plus the dramatic problem. It’s the over all suggestion of what will happen in your novel. Drama is the reaction of the main character to the problem.

The problem should interrupt the status quo and eventually lead to a new status quo.

The problem also reveals the secrets and emotional truth of your characters.

Problem Conflict

Internal conflict is the emotional baggage the hero must overcome to meet the external conflict which is the problem.

Some examples of conflict structures: hero vs villain, hero vs nature, hero vs the system, hero vs the self.

The main cause of weak conflict is a weak villain. Your characters need to be dangerous, they need to be well rounded, they need to believably scary/powerful/threatening. Give them an agenda.

Don’t skip the hard moments. When you promise conflict, deliver it in spades. Don’t leave the reader to imagine it.

Dramatic Crisis

Create a life threatening or life shaping situation then put your characters through the wringer.


The message you want your readers to take away with you. It could be worked subtly into the tale or you could chose to hit them over the head with it. But be careful that you don’t end up sounding preachy or or propagandizing.

In the general three act story structure the hero takes on a problem in the first act, seems to be defeated by the problem in the second act, and then pulls out a win in the third act with a big climatic scene. Not everyone follows this. Not everyone needs to. But if you’ve never written a novel before, it can’t hurt to learn the basic three act structure, if only so you can more effectively break it next time.

What do you think? Three act useful or a waste of time in today’s reading market?

Tune in tomorrow where I will work my way through the exercises at the end of this chapter.

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