Image Credit: As ever, the wonderful Pixabay. Captions on the CFT post.
Now we all know Murphy's Law is no respecter of barriers. Whatever profession you're in, whichever hobby you enjoy, it will strike at some point. So as to the actual creating of a story, what are the things to look for so you can avoid them?
- Naming Characters - For longer works of fiction, it is too easy to give characters names that are too similar to others (for example Stephanie and Stephan. Two different characters but the problem with names that are similar is they can make the characters forgettable or interchangeable, neither of which you want). I get around this by ensuring each of my characters has a name that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. It's simple but it works. Murphy's Law can kick in here by making you not spot this until after you've got your first draft down. (Yes, it can be fixed at that point but it can be frustrating when you've got two similar sounding characters. The last thing you want is anything that might cause confusion in a reader or a sense of "what is that character doing here? I don't see the point of them" reaction).
- Outlining - The query here is how much to do? Will Murphy's Law strike in that you either outline too much or not enough? How can you judge what is correct for the writing you're working on? A rule of thumb I use is have I got enough to get started on the story? Have I got enough to get me to the middle of the story? Have I got enough to be able to conclude the story? You don't necessarily need to outline everything. You just need enough to get you to the next stage in the story. Think of this as outlining the major markers. Get those right and it will help you get everything else in place. You just want to stop yourself going off at unproductive tangents and that is where Murphy's Law will trip you up. Stop the unhelpful tangents and you save yourself valuable time too. Work out what you think you need to know.
- Settings - The trap here again is detail. How much do you need to know before you write the story? What impact will the setting have on your characters? Preparation is the key to beating Murphy's Law hitting you here. Again work out what you think you need to know. And bear in mind the setting must have some kind of impact on your characters - they're either going to love where they are (but it is under threat - which is where your story comes in) or loathe it and want to escape (which is where another type of story can come in).