What do football and fiction have in common?

football field

What do football and fiction have in common?

The first thing we as writers must accomplish with our story is to hook our reader. But if we merely hook them, the reader can get away. So we must also then compel them to read on to the middle and then right through to the end of our story.

We spur our reader to the middle of our story by creating a compelling lead character with whom our readers bond. Next,disturb the lead’s world so the reader wants to find out how the character is going to overcome this disturbance to his/her world.

Author Jack Bickham, in his book Scene & Structure, states: Development of a story depends on your ability to interpose obstacles between your hero and the attainment of his goal.

Each chapter has a goal, and ends with a hook that compels the reader to move to the next chapter. Each scene works in this same way, with a goal and the failure (or success) to meet that goal. These chapter and scene goals are steps taken to reach the end goal.

Picture a football field and think of each

  • yard line as a scene and
  • every five yards as a chapter, (I’m not saying each chapter should have 5 scenes)
  • the end zone is the climax of your story, and
  • the one-point field goal is the denouement.

The major is goal is to win the game. To do that you make touchdowns. With each scene your goal is to move closer to the end zone in order to make a touchdown; with each chapter your goal is to make a touchdown.

Of course, there would be no game without an opposing team, and that team uses every obstacle available to them to prevent the other team from winning.

There are any number of sports analogies one can make, but the idea is to help you visualize the major goal of the story and the intermediate goals your protagonist must gain from the beginning to the end.

Start your story with a hook, preferably at the point in which your lead’s world gets turned upside down. From then on, end each chapter with a hook that compels the reader to turn the page.

A brief summary of tasks 1-6:

  • Hook the reader
  • Establish a bond between the reader and your main character
  • Create your story setting
  • Set the general tone of your story
  • Introduce the antagonist/opposition
  • Compel the reader to the middle of the story

If act 1 of your story accomplishes each of the above 6 tasks, you will have a greater chance of hooking and reeling in your reader.

What makes your lead character compelling and what has disturbed her/his world? Leave your comments below.

If you want more great information like this, be sure to sign up for updates. Just fill out the form at the top right of the page.

Related posts:

Six Tasks to Accomplish with Act 1 of Your Novel – Part 1
Six Tasks to Accomplish in Act 1 of Your Novel – Part 2
Where in the world is your story? – Part 3
6 Tasks to Accomplish with Act 1 of Your Novel – Part 4
Who’s the Big Bad Wolf in Your Story? Part 5
How to Ensure Your Characters and Plot Don’t Flat Line
How do Plot and Scene Work Together? Part 1

I also highly recommend Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham.

Want to get published but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you have a finished manuscript or just an idea stuck in your head. Email me today at Deb [at] DebraLButterfield [dot] com, and let's discuss how I can help you reach your dream of publication.

%d bloggers like this: