Borrow Plots and Focus on Your Story

Here’s the hard way to write a story. Come up with an interesting plot and then come up with interesting characters and situations. Here’s the easy way to write a story. Come up with interesting characters and situations.

Why about the plot? Borrow a plot from an existing book that’s old enough to be in the public domain.

For example, take the story of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s all about a girl who plans to visit her grandmother in the woods while a wolf plots to get there before her and kill her.

Now borrow the plot of Little Red Riding Hood but set it in the world of espionage where Little Red Riding Hood is now a spy and the big bad wolf is an enemy counter surveillance agent trying to catch her. Same plot but now you’ve layered a familiar plot with unique situations and characters and created an entirely new story based on an existing plot.

Look at Shakespeare plays and turn “Romeo and Juliet” into “West Side Story.” Or look at “Jaws”, change the setting to outer space and you wind up with “Alien.”

It’s not easy coming up with plots but it is easy to borrow existing plots and put your own unique spin on the characters and situation. Remember, there aren’t many new stories being written but there are unique settings and characters that recycle existing story plots over and over again.

“The Hunger Games” is about a hero who must enter a deadly game and survive. The myth of the Minotaur is about a warrior who must enter a maze, face a monster, and survive. Similar plot but different settings.

Creativity doesn’t necessarily come from a unique plot but from a unique setting and characters, so focus on that and borrow a plot. You’ll find it can make your story much easier to create and write.

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