Yesterday, I asked to hear the one-sentence Storylines of my loyal blog readers. Wow! There are a ton of them posted as comments!
I’ll critique these in the order they came in. Today, I’ll critique Heather’s and Katie’s, and then throw out a challenge to my readers to critique Armando’s.
Heather’s one-sentence Storyline goes like this:
The last Dryad searches for a way to heal the forest.
Randy sez: In Heather’s comment, she says she’s not satisfied with it because it doesn’t seem to sum up the storyline. Let’s see if we can figure out why.
A powerful way to analyze a storyline is to ask, “What’s the Story Question?” (A Story Question is the question that your story must answer by the end of the story. Typical Story Questions are: “Will Scarlett get Ashley?” or “Will Luke destroy the Death Star?”)
The Story Question raised by Heather’s storyline is this: “Will the last Dryad heal the forest?”
The issue I see is that this question is a bit abstract. I don’t know what’s wrong with the forest. Is it sick? Sorrowful? Cut down by Al Gore? The actual, specific problem that the forest has will determine what the actual, specific goal the last dryad has.
Now, you don’t want to get too specific, of course–that takes too many words. But I think we need some more concrete details here to understand what’s wrong.
Heather, do you want to add some detail to this and post it as a comment? I just bet it’ll be a better Storyline if you do.
Katie’s Storyline goes like this:
A maid of honor struggles to understand her powers after accidentally transporting herself, the best man, and the flower girl to a deserted island.
Randy sez: This is pretty specific! We have three characters named, and their relationship is all pretty clear. We have a deserted island. We have some sort of magical powers. The Story Question is similar to that on Gilligan’s Island: “Will they get off that pesky island and go home?”
This is a good strong Storyline. It does everything it needs to do. It tells prospective readers instantly if this is the kind of story they want to read.
Here’s Armando’s Storyline:
A man writes and sings an incantation over and over wherever he stands to unravel the prophecy that beckons the next savior of the world.
Randy sez: I have my own thoughts on this Storyline, but I think it’s good for everyone to exercise their analytical powers. So here’s my challenge to my loyal blog readers: Does this Storyline work? Is it perfect, or can it be improved? Post a comment and tell us what you think!