The First Step

As the topic of a story is formulating in your mind, you must come up with the moral question. What is the probing question that the story is going to solve?

For example, in a coming-of-age story about a teenager who desires to be included in the popular group, the question might be “How do you join a group when you are seen to be an outsider?”

This quest for an answer drives the character’s motivation throughout the story. At the end, either the protagonist is now a part of that group, or has come to an epiphany that membership is not what she really wants. And why.

What if the main character sees an injustice in society at large and wants to correct it. The driving moral question would be “How do I motivate others to help me in this quest and what steps do I need to take to make things right?’

Perhaps the character sees poor kids going hungry in school which impacts their ability to learn. How will the protagonist provide healthy meals on a consistent basis?

Another part of the question is motivation. What happened to the protagonist that made her aware of the problem/issue? Why does she feel she is the one to correct the situation? What knowledge or experiences does she have that allows her to be the organizer?

Your task is to create a situation in which your character has a burning moral question that he is compelled to satisfy. First, define the question. Then make a list of possible solutions.

Establish the society in which the character lives, works, plays. Put things in motion and see what happens.

When you are finished, reread what you have written. If you are satisfied as a reader, great. If not, what changes need to be implemented to bring fulfillment?

Have fun with this one.

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