Writing stories

Plotting a Backstory: Win!

This is a plot for I guess what you’d call a hero quest. Odysseus winning his wife and Kingdom back after being gone for twenty years. First person shooters use this type of backstory as are most video games. In comics, Asterix and his band of Gauls fight the Romans to keep their corner of their world safe. In the end they win…their freedom!

The hero quest is fairly straight forward. There is a prize. It’s the hero’s job to win it. Getting the prize, however, is anything but straight forward. The hero needs obstacles to conquer first. Each obstacle shows us the strengths and weaknesses of the hero which help him win the prize.

  1. Draw the main character. Outline his personality. Draw some friends. Draw some enemies.
  2. What is the prize that the main character needs to win? Draw that. Why is it so important?
  3. How to win the prize? What stands in the way of victory? What can the hero use to win the prize? Where is the prize? 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. Are there enough obstacles faced by your hero to show he is capable of being a winner?
  5. Finally, draw a map from obstacle to obstacle until your character finds the prize. Make sure the last obstacle is the biggest.

I drew up some worksheets to help with the visual development of this kind of story, with a prize at the end. They are really in need of updating, but I think they serve the purpose of a being a general idea of how to set up a writing project to be more drawing than writing.


Some general questions to be answered by visuals
The obstacle sheet
Story map to which visuals need to be added