Plot & Story Development Questions

A series of questions to ask yourself about your story and its plot, based on things I see in stories and story premises that haven't been thought out very well.

  • Why should audiences be interested in watching what your protagonists do? Are you trying to take your audience on an adventure, or are you just writing out a log of all the things you wish you could do or what you wish your life could be like? The latter is often fun to write, but not often fun to read.
  • Why should audiences care about your protagonists, or what happens to your protagonists?
  • What experience does your story offer audiences that they probably haven’t already experienced in a similar story?
  • What are the main obstacles to be faced? What makes them legitimate challenges or threats?
  • Why should audiences care whether the protagonists succeed or not? What's at stake? What would happen if they fail?
  • What motivates the main characters into taking on these challenges?
  • What will the protagonists lose or have to give up to see their goals through? What hard choices will they have to make?
  • If your story is set in a fantasy world, what makes the conflicts in your world familiar and identifiable to people like us, who don’t live in your fantasy world?
  • What unexpected complications will arise that will make things more difficult than the protagonists anticipated? How will they adapt?
  • What events will prompt the characters change and develop over the course of the story? How will they change?
  • How will the events of the story change the status quo of the protagonists’ world forever? Will all of these changes be good?
  • Where will your protagonists be at the end of the story? What will they be doing? How satisfied will they all be with their situations?
  • What will your protagonists have learned by the end of the story? How will their perspectives and opinions changed?
  • Are there any scenes or passages you could remove from the story, and still have the story make perfect sense and still have the audience know everything they need to know? If so, prune them off.
  • Are there any characters you could remove and still have the story work? Could you combine the roles of multiple characters and still tell the story just as effectively? If so, do it.

Also, take a look at:

Country & Culture-Development Questions
Phlebotinum-Development Questions
Character Development Questions

On Plot Structure & Plotting
Stuff You Should Cut From Your Story
Borrowing & Sharing Ideas In Fiction - When It's Okay, And When It Isn't
Tips For Describing & Summarizing Your Story & Pitching Your Plot Ideas

Character Development Questions
Character Creation & Development Theory (Or, How To Make Characters 101!)
Basic Tips To Improve Your OCs & Fan Characters

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