Nuts and bolts……

……….. Make your ideas work


For a successful story you’re going to need three things:


One or more characters

It helps if we like your protagonist (the main character), but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The important thing is that we empathise with them. Then we start caring about them, and this makes us want to carry on reading. We want to find out what happens to them.


 A setting, where the story takes place

Where-ever it is, a living room, a busy department store, the middle of the moors, or the far side of the moon, the reader should be able to picture what’s going on in his/her head. This doesn’t  require paragraphs of description. A phrase can sometimes paint a few brushstrokes which inspire the reader to fill in the rest of the details from his/her imagination.


Two characters. A setting. So, what's the plot?
Two characters. A setting. So, what’s the plot?

 A plot

There’s a problem that needs to be solved, or some sort of conflict to overcome. It could be that someone is treated like a servant by her step-sisters and is desperate to go to the forthcoming ball. Or maybe someone has to deal with a control freak at work. Or perhaps the problem lies within the protagonist himself. Can he pluck up the courage to do that bungee jump he boasted about and signed up for? Did he really think he could impress that sporty-looking girl at the gym?




Next time you read a really good short story, ask yourself, why do I like it? Why does this work so well?

Think about the following:

  • What made me like or empathise with the main character?

  • Which words or phrases made me visualize the setting in my mind?

  • Why was the plot successful? Was it different, funny, quirky?


Characters, settings and plots are the nuts and bolts of story-writing.

Make yours memorable.P1130301



Frog: (haughtily)
Isn’t it obvious?
I’m trying to empathise with the birds.



4 thoughts on “Nuts and bolts……

  1. Dear Veronica

    Although having been the Administrator for the Christian Writers Association I never really got down to proper writing even though I have many things half-way written but never seem to have the time to dedicate to doing it seriously. I have since joined a weekly writing class which I find is helping me a lot in terms of taking my writing seriously and so I appreciate your Nuts and Bolts and Rubber Balls and Marbles tips. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I found your comment very encouraging. It is difficult to find time to write, especially when we have so many responsibilities and commitments. Keep up the good work. I wish you lots of success.

      • Thanks Veronica. I have been looking for your monthly series of tips for new writers. Where exactly can I sign up to receive these tips or do I gave to log on to your site monthly?


  2. Am going to try and solve this one. May need help! (For that read ‘Definitely need help!’)
    For this month’s tips, please click on Plot and Ride in Recent Posts on the right-hand list.

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