When crafting a story, there are two things an author must consider. One is her character's goals and motivations and the other is the conflict (both internal and external) that will make it difficult for those characters to reach their goal.
This is not always as simple as it may seem when I sit down to write story on my computer, but when I look out my front door, my mind wanders down these paths all the time. Maybe it's my background in psychology and sociology or perhaps it's just my wild imagination, but I see stories everywhere.
That lady at the grocery store with two different shoes on? She's having one heck of a day she was not expecting to have. She lost her job and had an important interview earlier today, but her alarm didn't go off and she woke up late and grabbed the wrong shoes on her way out the door. When she got to the interview, not only did she notice she was wearing mismatched shoes, but her competition was her ex-boyfriend, the man who broke her heart. Her miserable day led her to the grocery store where she planned to buy all the most fattening foods in the joint so she could eat herself into a food coma. Only, that job-stealing ex is also checking out and wants to know if she'll join him for dinner to catch up. Oh, my! What will happen next?
I don't know because I have to find the Mexican shredded cheese my husband likes to use when he makes quesadillas. But you get the idea. I see stories everywhere.
The latest drama is unfolding right in my own front yard. This is my pup, Macy.
But if a squirrel shows its bushy tail on the other side of that same fence, Macy throws caution to the wind and darts across it. Mind you, she will not come back in the yard because she knows what will happen so it's back to the crying, rolling on her back, and barking until we come and get her.
Macy is the main character in my latest imaginary story. Macy's goal is to catch a squirrel and make a friend. The squirrel's goal is to gather as many acorns as he can. Some might believe his motivation is to stay alive throughout the winter, but I know that his real reason for hunting acorns in my yard is to torture Macy. She obviously reminds him of another beast who killed his mother (how very Disney of me).
But Rudy knows Macy lives inside the house most of the time. So, he has gotten a little brazen and brought his acorns over to the other side for a nibble, just to drive Macy completely out of her mind.
How far is Rudy willing to push the limits? Will Macy overcome the electric fence obstacle? ( I think we all know the answer is YES, my editor might call this a weak obstacle and have me revise) When will Rudy take a risk that leads to his capture? And if Macy catches him, will her goal shift? Will she still want to be friends or has Rudy gone too far? Only time will tell. For now, I have to remind Macy that she does not need to go outside every two minutes.
Forget about that squirrel, Macy. He's no good for you. He's toying with your emotions. You're better than this.
What stories do you make up in your head about the people or animals around you? Please don't tell me I'm the only one who does this!