Writing fiction is difficult. There are so few rules, and even the rules that do exist can and should be broken from time to time.
Essays were always easier for me to write. Argumentative and expository pieces have an expected frame from which to work. There are thesis statements, supporting details, topic sentences, concluding paragraphs, and calls to action that don’t all overlap neatly with fiction writing.
The learning curve for someone like me is to organize stories into a framework that makes sense.
A story is a person who is in a situation and has a problem. However you want to weigh the priority of these three factors is up to you. No story exists without them in one form or another.
The First Failure
The main character has to fail. If your person succeeds too early, then the problem is trivial and not worth telling. This should be the attempt that is most in line with who the character is in the beginning of the story before any change occurs.
The Second Failure
The person in your story should fail a second time. This is an attempt to either dig deeper into his or her bag of tricks or try something out of their comfort zone. Growth and learning occurs, even though it is not enough … yet.
This is when the result of growth is shown. The main character succeeds by wielding a new talisman, cooperating with an old enemy, or figuring out the problem in a way that they never knew existed. People need to develop and failure is a great way to learn how to win.
People need to be given a reason to care about a story. A worthy obstacle and character development are great places to start.