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I’ve been reading a lot of writing articles (I know I should actually be writing, but it’s better than nothing), and I have discovered a particularly important reason why I’m not feeling my stories right now. I mean, yes, it’s a great deal because I’m exhausted and…”never have time.” But I have also realized that it’s also because I don’t yet have a story.

None of my stories have a dramatic question, that one question that drives the whole plot. Basically it boils down to this:

“Will X happen?”

A yes or no question.

Will Connie go with Arnold Friend?

Will Aziraphale and Crowley stop the Apocalypse?

It’s a very truncated version of all the important parts of a story: Protagonist, Goal, and Conflict (what happens to keep them from achieving their goal). Will the protagonist achieve their goal?

Currently, my stories have protagonists and conflicts (in the “bad things happen” sense, not the “preventing the protagonist from reaching a goal” sense) but no goal. I just have terrible stuff happening to them.

One does sort of have a goal. She wants to save her girlfriend. But we don’t find that out till later, so in the beginning, she doesn’t really have a goal.

I guess that just means I need to work on character development. (Which has always been my biggest issue.)