I’m in the thick of writing a new story, which is writer’s speak for I’m in the middle. My characters are headed toward their goal, but there’s going to be a crisis along the way. After all, characters and good books need challenges.

In most fiction, the writer can plot the book into three parts: the beginning, middle, and end.

Somewhere in the middle of a book, the character loses his way. What he wants is denied, either by his own choice or by outside circumstances. Writers call this the crisis. This breakdown reveals a deeper motivation that propels the character forward, a motivation he was originally unaware of. In my story, I’m struggling to determine the crisis. My characters are in search something unknown to them.

If your character is on a journey, they may get hopelessly lost. If your character is in search of an object of great value, their goal may be just out of reach. Whatever the circumstance is, the goal that your character had is sidetracked. Somewhere in the midst of the failure, a deeper motivation emerges which drives your character to continue. Whatever situation in which he finds himself, he does not lose sight of this goal, the throughline.

What story are you currently writing and does this plot planner add clarity to your work?