The Essence of Story according to Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Writing-the Craft by Cindy

What is the essence of a story?

Larry Brooks asserts it is conflict, or that which opposes the goal of the protagonist .

He highlights three dimensions of character and what drives them to overcome the conflict they face.
  1. Exterior-what the world sees-surface traits, quirks and habits. How a character looks and acts.
  2. Reasons for choices and behavior that others see. Exposes backstory, agenda, and meaning of  exterior dimension
  3. The more important choices and behaviors of a character. This shows who the character really is.
It is important to be able to see the three dimensions in our characters. Also, remember that backstory explains and rationalizes the choices and behaviors our characters make. It is what happened before and behind the actual events or decisons.

So what drives our characters? Larry says resentment. He says people want to exact revenge on what they resent. This revenge has a healing power for characters. What do our characters' resent? That depends on their worldview or the set of collective values, politics, preferences and beliefs of our characters.

On the other side, he says nothing fuels a story like hope.

Do your characters have three dimensions? What drives your character? Does your character have hope?