Want to know three quick things to improve your story? Try Object, Conflict, and the Ticking Clock.
Object is something found throughout a story that the reader can follow. The Object may be an actual thing (like a amulet) or a place (like a church) or it can even be a secondary character ( like a best friend or pet). Usually the Object is important to the plot or the theme.
Conflict comes through several ways. We all know the English definition — Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. God, etc. — but , Conflict is simply when a character wants something and can’t get it. An easy way to create Conflict is to add another character into the scene/story.
Here’s an example of what an Object, Conflict, and Ticking Clock can do:
James ran to his lab at the CDC.
James ran to the lab at the CDC to find the vial of Navarro virus.
James ran to the lab at the CDC to find the vial of Navarro virus before Brandon.
James ran to the lab at the CDC to find the vial of Navarro virus before Brandon could sell it to a terrorist group.
Don’t you think the last sentence is more exciting than the first?
Not every scene/story is going to have all 3 elements, but if you ever find yourself stuck, try looking for an Object you can weave throughout the story, or try putting one in. Try inserting another character (or two) to the scene. Try a Ticking Clock. You might be surprised at how quickly things get interesting, and interesting stories are the ones that suck us in, both as writers and as readers.
What makes a story more interesting to you?