Plot vs. Coincidence; the sign of a bad writer

Coincidences happen every day in real life. In fact, things happen against all odds, every second of every day. So why shouldn’t you have a coincidence happen in your book? You can, if you do it right, if it’s meaningful. But if you’re not carefully laying foundations for your plot then your characters end up as nothing but puppets dragged around by strings.


The protagonist’s problem

A story is about a problem. Your protagonist is the one experiencing the problem. Why? Because you, the writer, has designed him for it. The bigger the problem is, the bigger the person has to be, to be capable of resolving it. That’s why only your protagonist can resolve your story-worthy problem.


Setting: how to set the stage for your scene

The beginning of a scene should lay out the characters, their relationship, the environment and the basic conflict. A common mistake is to feel the need to establish all the information at the top of the scene. Let the exposition happen naturally. Let the readers discover who and where everybody is and what their relationships are. That’s half the fun.

The Five Main Story Elements

Every story consists of the same five story elements, regardless of the type of story. Those five elements set the stage, they drive the story and they let the reader know what’s what. These five elements come into play at macro level (the entire story) as well as micro level (a specific scene).