How many here have struggled to “return to their story”? You sit at your table, pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, but you’re not “ready” to write yet. You don’t “feel” the characters, or their world.
1. Isolating the story to a single location.
Most of the time this amounts to isolating or trapping multiple characters in a single location, which was already covered in Characters #3, focusing on characters in the same location.
1. One conflict/resolution leads to another.
In Harry Potter, particularly books 1 & 2, the overarching conflict is unraveling a mystery, (What is hidden in the castle? Who opened the Chamber?). Within this larger conflict, the characters engage and complete numerous smaller steps, some planned, while others are unexpected. As they progress, each resolution leads to the next step in the plot.
When learning about writing, I frequently come across succinct little pieces of advice, which can be helpful, but also misleading. “If you want to be a writer, just write, there’s nothing more to it.” “Writers need to do two things; read a lot and write a lot.” But what does it actually look like? I’m a firm believer that writing requires many skills, and I also believe it’s important to continue to work at each aspect each week (at least a little), but what are the categories, and how should I divide my time among them?
Some stories are told from a single perspective, in a single location, over a short span of time (for example, Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson), but in general, the longer a story is, the more complex it becomes. Most novels feature between 2 and 6 different point of view characters, each with their own cast of supporting characters. They engage multiple narrative threads, spanning a wide range of locations and moments in time.