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  • Writer's pictureZack Dictakis

[EVERY GOOD STORY]

Updated: Jan 5


Every good story *must* consist of the following, or it sucks:



  1. Beginning, Middle, End

  2. A Character

  3. Who Wants Something

  4. Something Gets In The Way

  5. They Do Something About It


This doesn't mean your story is good if it checks all these boxes, but if it doesn't, it probably sucks.


BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END

Every good story can be broken down into these 3 parts. This is the framework inside of which the story exists. Defined or not, if a story is missing one of these it probably sucks. And that's the facts.


A CHARACTER

I don't care if your character is a toaster, Detroit, or a piece of lint. All good stories have a character. The character is the reason you watch. The character is the thing that the story revolves around.


WHO WANTS SOMETHING

Existence in the story, however, isn't quite enough for a good character. Maybe the toaster wants a cup of water, Detroit wants to be taken seriously, and the piece of lint wants a belly button to call home. There's no right answer to what your character wants, but if they don't want anything, then I don't care.


SOMETHING GETS IN THE WAY

The glass of water short circuits the toaster, Everyone laughs at Detroit for bringing up the auto-industry again, and a form fitting bodysuit prevents the lint from getting into the belly button of it's dreams. I don't care what it is, but I swear to god nothing is more boring than seeing a character get what they want without a single complication.


THEY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

The toaster hires a team of dedicated science-goons to manufacture a conduction-proof super suit that allows it to drink water, Detroit invests in it's forsaken downtown infrastructure, and the lint realizes it can get the cozy warmth it desired all along back in the filter of the clothes-dryer from whence it came.


Again - these won't make a bad story good, but a good story definitely does all of these things. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't always a square.


And don't let this stop you from writing stories that suck, stories that suck are vital. If you don't get them out of the way, you'll never get to the good ones.

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