Daily Archives: September 7, 2011

Who’s Driving Your Story?

I got in my truck this morning and my knees scraped against the underside of the dashboard and the steering wheel smashed into my ribs.  You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not–much.

You see, Dear Daughter drove my truck last, and she’s all of five foot nothin’. 

Writing is similar to driving.  One person must steer the car, but input can come from the passenger seat or even from a backseat driver. 

A story is typically about a central MC.  (Don’t freak on me, I said almost, not the absolute always.)  Sometimes the MC has a BFF that helps guide the events or a significant other waiting at the destination as motivation to not get lost along the way. 

Other times, characters and events can feel like a navigation system.  “Turn right here.”  These directions can send our characters on a clear and true path, lead them along the scenic route or nearly drive them off a cliff. 

In my humble opinion, it’s important to realize that stories unfold in a variety of ways depending on who’s behind the steering wheel.  Your MC’s personality plays an important role in how much or how little advice she’s willing to take along the way.

“I know, Mom” is my DD’s mantra when speeding up to a stop light and the car idling just in front of her bumper.  “Jeeze.  Let go of the door handle.”

There is no mistaking who drives the car when DD sits behind the wheel. 

Who drives your story?  Do events dictate your MC’s actions, does conflict detour your story line or does an end goal motivate your MC to push forward despite all obstacles? 

If we’re lucky, we have a healthy balance of all three.  If not, we are on a road trip from hell!