On the Road

Stick your character up a tree and then throw rocks at them or as Billy Wilder said to someone once, “in the second act set the tree on fire and in the third act get them down again”. This is the premise of the three act structure of rising conflict and resolution. That’s what makes a story.

We don’t like reading about people who are born lucky, who always get the girl and never need to save the day or struggle for money. We like people who strive and struggle and stumble along the way. If they almost die trying to get what they want, so much the better. And that’s because conflict is interesting – the rich woman who becomes poor or the disadvantaged student who wins a scholarship against all odds and the blind detective who doesn’t always get the bad guy and loses her job because she’s set up by corrupt police officials who want her out of the way. Now that’s a story. But you’ll only keep the reader interested if you keep throwing those rocks.

Your writing prompt: A car is broken down on a road, miles from anywhere. That’s bad. It’s your job, nay, your duty,
as a writer to make it even worse and then make it disastrous.

broken down


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