Question regarding obstacles in stories

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DeeLerious184
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17 Mar 2013, 12:36 am

I have this idea for a story, where two princes go from their world to our world looking for their sister, the heir to the throne( only females can inherit in That kingdom and the next in line is a war monger, who wants to conquer amd make war) Sine it's going to be a novel, I need obstacles for the brothers to get through b4 finding their sister that are not just filler. Could someone please advise me on this? Also, I can not get beyond reunion scene:( where sister suggest that the kingdom reform so that the Queen would only be a figure head, and people could choose the ruler of the kingdom.



redrobin62
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17 Mar 2013, 12:56 am

I read your post and got to thinking about Snow White & the Huntsman. In a lesser novel, obstacles would be introduced left and right to slow down the protagonist until he reaches his final goal. In the hands of a better write, those obstacles would have some direct or indirect relation to the goal. For instance, in order for a prince to inherit a kingdom he must defeat a fearsome dragon. Okay. What are those dragon's weaknesses? Where does it store its eggs? Does it have protectors? Are there groups or tribes willing to protect that dragon at all costs that you must eventually face?



jagatai
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17 Mar 2013, 6:30 am

It seems to me that the obstacles need to be conflicts between the princes and their sister. Why has she left? Is there something she wants in her new home that she prefers over coming back to rule a kingdom (or queendom as the case may be) If she does not want to return, why? Or is she unable to return? Will something horrible happen to her if she returns? Blackmail or magic?

The obstacles will propel the story only if they are a direct result of the initial conflict.

Lets say warmonger has made a viable threat to sister that unless she leaves, warmonger will kill her entire family. Sister leaves and tells no one why because she fears for her family. When her brothers come after her, she pretends to not want to rule her country. They tell her she is needed and are both shocked and dismayed at what appears to be indifference to her people. One brother is deeply angry at her, the other is convinced something else is going on.

But sister isn't going to just sit around being fearful. Despite the fact that she is alone and knows no one outside her kingdom, she works to get other leaders to support her. She has to be careful since she doesn't want warmonger to learn she is trying to build an army. And she definitely doesn't want to be dragged back before she has an adequate force built to conquer warmonger. So when her brothers keep trying to drag her back, she has to stop them, and perhaps appear to betray them, but she also doesn't want them hurt.

When they appeal to her to return, she insists that she doesn't care for her old home. They argue and finally she relents. When they set out to return the next morning on horse back, she wears clothes where only the eyes are visible (maybe it's cold... I don't know...) and the brothers ride with her for miles before they discover the person riding with them is not their sister. This ruse gives the sister enough time to move on. The brothers continue to pursue her, but she has guards arrest them and they must break out of prison and do detective work to find where she has gone now.

Eventually once she has enough of an army, she lets them find her and they return to the kingdom to defeat the warmonger.

My point is the things that prevent the brothers from getting their sister back have to be a direct result of the sister's unwillingness to return. Every time they make progress in their goal of getting her back, she has to counter act with an even more effective tactic to foil them. Obviously my thoughts on your story are a free association that may have nothing to do with what you are writing (although if you care to use anything of it, feel free to do so)

What is the sister's reason for leaving her kingdom? What is forcing her to stay away? How strongly will she fight to avoid returning? What is she willing to do to stay away?

What are the princes willing to do to get her back? How far will they go?

To reiterate, the obstacles have to arise directly from the actions of another person. In this situation, the sister is the antagonist and the princes are the protagonists. They are trying to achieve a specific goal and she is trying to prevent them. But in any good story, you should be able to also write it so that the sister is the protagonist and her brothers are the antagonists. She is trying to achieve some other goal and they are trying to stop her.

I guess that's the key point I am trying to make here. The obstacles you need to make your story work will easily fall into place as long as you can tell both sides of the story. The princes have one goal. The sister has another goal. And they keep doing things to prevent the other from achieving that goal. They keep this up until somebody wins or their goals merge into a single goal.

I strongly recommend analyzing the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's first version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". It is a very clear example of the entire story resulting from a very clear action at the beginning of the film. Every plot point is a direct result of the conflicting goals of the protagonists and the antagonists.


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DeeLerious184
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17 Mar 2013, 8:39 am

Thank you!



DeeLerious184
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17 Mar 2013, 11:46 am

I have decided to make the sister the reluctant protagonist and the war monger cousin, the antagonist. She can come back, defeat the cousin, and install reforms to allow for voting.

She could be a sort of anti hero