“Once upon a time”…is how young readers are hooked.  with adults, it might take a formula to get you started, and to catch the eye of an editor.  Let’s take six easy steps:

Present your character with a problem.

Create an incident that intensifies the story.

Let your character react to it.

Devise an incident that thwarts all the character’s efforts and seems to make the problem insurmountable.

Terminate their efforts, either by their admission of failure, or a successful solution to the problem.

Let’s take an example. Jenny has been looking forward to her date with Mike. However, they have had a blazing row; she has stamped her foot and refused to go with him.

Intensifying the incident, Mike invites Jenny’s best friend to go to the concert with him instead. She accepts.

She retaliates by asking Mike’s best friend to take her to the concert.

He reacts by telling her she’s not his type – a blow to her confidence.

You have to reach a happy conclusion. Jenny is sitting alone in a cafe when Mike comes in and rather sheepishly joins her at her table. It seems that Jenny’s best friend can’t go in the end – dream up a plausible reason – he’s been too proud to come back to Jenny to see if they can settle their differences. He already misses her, and he’s still got the two tickets.

This is a very simple plot, but you get the idea. Successful writers write to a formula like this. It’s the result that counts.  Begin by thinking of a character, associate him/her with another character; put them both in a confrontational situation and work through the six steps.   My example is a very simple, women’s magazine example, but by using the same formula, you can create much more sophisticated plots, different settings, and traumatic problems.

Happy writing! My latest novel “Searching for Sarah” is available direct from me at a discount price. Contact me at I’m always happy to receive your comments, and to help you with any writing problems.



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