509. Two Things – One Plot

IMO You have to do at least two things to ‘find’ a plot (and thus conflicts) in a story:

1) Put some part of a painful memory, a returning fear, a constant yearning, a powerful desire or any another resonant experience, fantasy or wishful thinking you have ever had yourself … into one or more of your characters.

2) Want badly enough to explore and share that particular experience with the world in prose, even if in a totally disguised form.

For example, I always wanted to visit revolutionary Russia (safely), so my main protag in my latest story does just that. I have also struggled with ‘survivors guilt’, and so does said protag. But the protag is also a woman, a lot younger than I, and able to do magic – so on the outside not at all like me.

You don’t need to plan to write the next War and Peace to have to do this kind of introspection. Even the author of a C-list agent Action Man story uses some percentage of 1+2 on their characters to figure out what kind of conflicts can be generated for a plot.