Welcome to Creative Writing Step 3. If you are here, you've already reviewed our story formula and chosen a story starter (Who + What + Why Not), and you've already described your main character. If not, return to Creative Writing Step 1- Choose your story starter or Creative Writing Step 2- Describe your character.
Writing an exciting story
In the last creative writing step, you began the story by introducing your main character and setting the tone for the story. But a good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end--and the middle is where all the action is.
Remember that the plot is What your character wants and Why he can't get it (What + Why Not). When you write in obstacles to the character getting what he wants, the action rises. This is the interesting part that keeps the reader turning pages. You throw in some twists and turns to keep the reader enthralled, and then your character finally has a break through (the climax) and the action can slow down. The action starts to fall as your main character finds some solution to his problems. And that, is "the end" of the story. (See the Rising Action Story Map for a picture of how this rising and falling action works.)
The secret to action is focusing on "What" and "Why not":
Look at your "What + Why Not" from your story starter formula-- what does your story character want and why can't he get it? What could your character do to overcome the obstacles?
The action continues as you character deals with the unexpected obstacles you give him/her. How would he handle each turn of events?-- That's how you write action.
Keep in mind that at some point, you want to write your character a break so the story can end.
Creating Action- See how it works
Let's look at an example to see how you create action from a What + Why Not.
A hippo wants to be a ballerina, but she doesn't know how.
How could she learn? She could go to ballet school, watch You Tube videos, or set up a studio in her cage at the zoo and go all Flashdance.
Once you know how she'll learn-- Is it easy for her? Does she struggle? What does it look like, sound like, smell like, feel like while she's learning?
Next, to find resolution, she'll need an audience to perform for. How can she show off her dance moves? She could plan out a suprise performance for the unwitting zoo patrons, or set up a You Tube channel and be The Next Big Thing. Eventually she'll have the whole package, perform it for adoring fans and find resolution. The End.
If you need some ideas for more plot twists, revisit the “Why not?” column in our creative writing prompts page. As your character overcomes one obstacle, throw another in his path.
Also try the vibrant verbs list to get ideas on how to make the action more specific and more exciting.
You're ready to write your story!
Try the Plot Planning Worksheet or print some Story Writing Paper.
You're ready to write your story. Remember your steps and click back to review if you need to. You can also use these handy creative writing worksheets and creative writing prompts to get story ideas.
This creative writing how to guide is available as a printable free creative writing lesson plan. Also, try our worksheets, posters, and other creative writing exercises.