Story Starters Part 2

I quoted an unknown author last month who stated “Bad decisions make good stories.” To this I will add, good decisions also make compelling stories.

A suddenly wealthy African American woman buys a town she discovered for sale on the internet. Henry Adams, Kansas, is one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. She promises to fix up the rundown town but asked for one thing in return: the townspeople must take in orphaned and/or abandoned children. Of course, many townspeople fight the deal. Good decision, life altering story. “Bring on the Blessings” by Beverly Jenkins.

Two angels work together to help a dying man who refuses to cross over because he didn’t want to leave his only grandson alone. The angels bring in a memory taker, who happens to be the grandson’s lost love. The grandfather was responsible for getting rid of her years ago, but she accepts the assignment anyway. Good decision, heartwarming story. “The Touch” by Karen White Owens.

A woman barely survives the slaughter of her family and other Tutsis by the Hutus. Her faith in God gives her enough strength to tell her story and to forgive the Hutus. Heart wrenching decision, riveting memoir. “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust” by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

A pharmaceutical sales representative files a sexual harassment suit against her boss. The company’s attorney is reluctant to take her case. The boss accuses the sales rep of stealing the company’s HIV cure to take the focus off him in the harassment suit. The attorney decides to take her case in spite of his attraction to her. Good decision, thrilling love story. “Acquisitions” by Kimberley White.

Katie Wilkinson is in love with the perfect man when he suddenly disappears leaving only a woman’s diary for her to read. Katie reluctantly begins reading the stranger’s diary which reveals a love story that changes her life forever. Good decision, touching story. “Suzanne’s Diary” by James Patterson.

A reporter receives a flyer in the mail that asks “Have You Seen This Child?” The child pictured in the flyer looks like her legally adopted son. Her reporter’s instincts win the fight with her protective instincts to discover the truth about her son’s birth parents. The search could cost the lives of herself and her son. Moral decision, great thriller. “Look Again” by Lisa Scottoline.

Take a second look at your stories. Have your characters made good, as well as bad, decisions that make your story riveting? Mysteries, romances, and memoirs all need compelling decisions that pull your readers into the story.


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    • Karen on December 21, 2015 at 8:30 am
    • Reply

    Great examples of premise. I inserted a “what if” before each plot possibility. Thanks for the ideas.

      • Barbara Pattee, Book Lover on December 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm
      • Reply

      You’re welcome. I enjoy “what ifs” which I’m working on for a future blog.

    • Sue Remisiewicz on December 20, 2015 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply

    These all sound so compelling! I’ll have to check if I have anyone left to buy for on my Christmas list.

      • Barbara Pattee, Book Lover on December 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm
      • Reply

      I enjoy reading a variety of genres. Hopefully you or someone you know will also enjoy the books I’ve read.

    • Kelly Bixby on December 16, 2015 at 10:26 am
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    Hi Barbara. When I’m done writing my first book and ready to market it, I’m coming to you for help with the synopsis. You make me want to read every one of those mentioned in your article. Oh, so little time.

      • Barbara Pattee, Book Lover on December 28, 2015 at 9:42 pm
      • Reply

      Thanks, Kelly, for the positive comment. Good luck with your first book.

  1. Thanks, Barb. Bad is good when it comes to story telling.

      • Barbara Pattee, Book Lover on December 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm
      • Reply

      I agree. I’ll continue to look for the bad to facilitate my story telling.

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