Monday, 2 January 2017

Pinch a Plot for your Next Story - a Sure-Fire Fiction Exercise

The scented roots of elecampane, a rare wild flower claimed
to ward off evil spirits that are rife in myth and legend.
By kind permission of David Lawrence
You can update a fairy tale or a Shakespeare play into a modern short story with a little tweaking and imagination. If you can relate the story to one or more of the seven deadly sins, you'll be clear about an outline and have a strong theme for your story. The freshness and originality of your writing may come naturally from updating your prose to fit contemporary issues regarding location, characters, background and dialogue.

Take some time choosing a story plot that truly appeals to you. For a comprehensive list of fairy tales or Shakespeare's plays, with links to synopses and background information, please go to:

Shakespeare Play Synopses

Fairy Tales of the World

Estonian Fairy Tales

Seven Deadly Sins

In stories, it is the "sin" or misdemeanour that usually provides the necessary conflict. The Seven Deadly Sins, with their approximate opposites, are:

Lust – Self-control
Gluttony – Temperance
Greed/Avarice – Generosity
Sloth – Zeal/Energy
Anger – Patience
Envy – Kindness
Pride – Humility

Of course, there are other adjectives that would fit just as well into the above list, but it could be fun working out a way to use the plot in a modern-day context. It would be great to hear back from anyone who uses this exercise to compose a brand new story. Good luck.

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