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Plot Your Life

September 13, 2013

     There are only two plots: somebody goes on a trip and a stranger comes to town. “And somebody loves a dog,” my husband adds. In the next room, Kaya thumps her tail at the word “dog.”

     In “The Story Within, New Insights and Inspiration for Writers,” the rules for writing well are the rules for living well—what is true for skilled storytelling, is true for the art of relationships, and relationships are the foundation upon which you build a life.

     Think about it: what are the rules for writing that apply to life as well?

  • Nothing is as it appears. (Check.)
  • When things get flat, make something big happen. (Check)
  • Avoid clichés. (Check, check.)
  • In our characters’ deepest fear there is longing. (Oh, yes.)
  • Your story is as compelling as your characters are honest. (Right again.)
  • To move a story forward, take the story deeper. 
  • Show, don’t just tell.

     You get the idea. Writing. Life. There’s no difference when it comes to satisfaction and a deep sense of well being. 

     So what is the plot of your life? “A girl is born to Midwestern parents, and” …she discovers, what?

     “This guy falls in love with a woman, not his wife and ?”

     “A guy who always thought he would love working for the government, leaves his job at the Treasury Department and ? what?”

     Write out the plot of your life—where it began, what happened to you, –use cause /effect to keep yourself going. Make this the story of just one year, just one season, just one loss, just one relationship. Then go back and delete the uninteresting parts. In this world, you get to edit!

     Remember: plot is a problem. If you write fiction, make this plot someone else’s life.

     If it is your life? Put it on the page one conflict, one mystery, one discovery at a time.

     And write a happy ending.

One Comment
  1. BrendaW permalink

    Thank you for this. Several points you make here are helping me proceed with a current project.

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