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How To Write Stories
by Alex Glaros


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There's a simple formula for writing a good story.

Have the character go through a difficult time that must involve an emotionally challenging problem. By overcoming the problem, the character is transformed into a wiser, deeper, better person.

Here's an an example of a story without an emotionally challenging problem.

John is walking to school, tossing his eraser into the air while passing next an empty factory building.

His eraser bounces into the building through an open window. John climbs through the window, comes out with his eraser and continues on to school.

There was a problem that got solved, but it didn't require any emotional courage to resolve.

Let's fix the story!

John has always been afraid of dogs. One day, John is walking to school, tossing his eraser into the air while passing next an empty factory building.

His eraser bounces into the building through an open window. John climbs through the window to look it. He sees the eraser on the floor and picks it up. When he turns around, there's a guard dog standing between him and the window!

John gets scared, and scrambles up to the top of a supply cabinet. The dog won't let him down for hours!

John finally realizes that he has to do something or he will end up spending the whole night in the building. He opens the supply cabinet and sees a bottle of chlorine bleach. In a brave moment, he grabs the bottle and splashes the dog's face with the bleach. The dog howls in pain. John can't believe his success and chases the now frightened dog with the bleach. Then he climbs out the window, never afraid of dogs again.

So, you can see that we've added a problem that required emotional courage to solve.

The problem in a story creates tension. Tension and release are important elements in a story. Tension is the technique used to focus on where the character's personality needs strengthening, and to help transform the character into a smarter, wiser, braver or better person.

Without a tension creating problem, the story doesn't go anywhere!

Click here to continue.