aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

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Formula writing

I recently came across this writing formula/prompt: "This is a story about (main character) who wants (story goal) more than anything in the world, but is prevented by (obstacle) until she (does something to overcome obstacle)."

Ever since, I've been pondering whether it works. Or if it only works for books for young readers. Or if it needs a few asterisks after it. Or if it's really helpful.

I've published six books, with one on the way. In the last one, Shock Point, Cassie's goal is to have her old life back. Her obstacle is her step-father, who has married her mom and moved them to a new city. Then Cassie finds out that her stepfather is not what he seems - and is determined to unmask him.

So far, it kind of follows the formula. But then there are mini-versions of the formula throughout the book. Like Cassie's stepdad sends her to a Mexican boot camp for troubled teens. So then her new goal is to get out of the boot camp. And the obstacles are the walls and the desert. Until she figures out a way. And eventually gets back home. At which point she does expose her stepfather - but of course you really can't get your old life back.

What do you think? Is the formula useful? Or does it describe something you already do? Or do you have something else that works better?

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