Writing stories

Plotting a Backstory: Saving Someone or Something

We love Superman not because he’s the Man of Steel and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. We love him because he saves people. He saves Lois Lane and the good people of Metropolis, he even saves the Universe on occasion. As he’s saving people, he get pummeled by Kryptonite, beaten by giant intergalactic monsters and imprisoned in other dimensions. It makes for a good story.

In order to write any kind of story, the writer needs to construct a working universe. It’s necessary to create characters, settings and points of conflict. So let’s have at it.

  1. Draw the main character. Outline his personality. Draw some friends. Draw some enemies.
  2. Draw who or what the main character has to save.
  3. What happened that this person or thing needs saving? What happened that made the situation so desperate? Are there monsters? Is there weather? What obstacles are in the way? The writer has to know EVERYTHING, even if the characters don’t. Answer these questions by DRAWING THE ANSWER.
  4. Look at what you’ve drawn and draw some possible ways this person or thing can be saved.
  5. Finally, draw a map from clue to clue until your character finds the object. Think of obstacles that might stop your character, but of course, the character manages to find the clues, and eventually the lost object, anyhow.

The more detailed you can make the story, the better it will be. Saving someone or something can be very powerful, but moreso if it takes getting through a lot of trouble to do it.

I’ve put together some worksheets to better visualize an approach to use saving someone or something as a plot point for storytelling. The point is not to write, but to draw this adventure. This can take many forms. These worksheets are not in my opinion quite satisfactory, but hopefully they can provide an idea of how to set up other, better, more customized worksheets on how to draw rather than write a story.

Drawing the nuts and bolts of the story


Obstacles in stories are also known as conflict
A little story map to get from here to there.