Story, You Need A Problem

I love this!

Allison Maruska

A few weeks ago, in the post about setting, I shared with you a mnemonic I used with my students to help them remember the important parts of a story: Cows See Pretty Sunflowers.

Cows = Characters

See = Setting

Pretty = Problem

Sunflowers = Solution

All these things are necessary to have a good story. Today, we jump into the third point. So let’s get Pretty.

Let’s say I write a story about my morning. I woke up, ate breakfast, and had coffee while I read blog posts. You could even say my morning consisted of little stories. I wanted coffee, so I went to the kitchen and made coffee. Goal met.

rocksBut that would be boring as hell. Sure, I technically had a non-coffee related “problem,” but there were no obstacles (or rocks, if you will) keeping me from solving it (Dan gives a nice description of how obstacles…

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2 thoughts on “Story, You Need A Problem

  1. The late science fiction writer Marion Zimmer Bradley used to refer to the ‘problem’ as “Joe gets his fanny caught in a bear trap”. In my opinion, it is essential to good storytelling that there be a problem that can seize the reader’s attention and hold it. I can forgive lackluster settings and even insufficiently developed characters if there’s a good, meaty problem and dramatic conflicts and twists in the struggle for a solution.


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