top of page
  • Writer's pictureKevin Cordi

Word Dancing-Trouble ignites a story

As a school student a teacher often calls us up to the desk and the first question about the story that you are writing is, "What is your story about?" In other words, what is your plot of the story? And you can't even address this story until you have a beginning, middle, and end of your story and sometimes you have to complete a rough draft before you can talk about or conference with the teacher.

Let me put this simple, plot is boring. It is simply a sequence of events, what happened and then what happened next. There is a time that plot can be exciting but this is not until you are word dancing in the world that creates the plot. There is so much underneath that if you confine your story play to the events, you will miss what lies beneath.

Teachers should not ask what is your story about, but instead, what "trouble(s) your story?" Kendall Haven, author of Story Proof states we are "plot-obsessed" in talking about a story. This can deaden our energy in the story.

Instead, what stops the character from moving? How about the other characters? Why can't this character get what he/she/they want? How come the king can't just kill the creature? Is he fearful? Did his father die from the same creature? Is he blind in one eye and won't tell his sons? Does he know that killing the creature will also kill him? Is he not a king at all and has no experience in combat? All this can trouble this one plot point and can be a great place to word dance to get ideas.

Fantasy writer Terry Pratchett states,

"The characters are the plot. What they do and say and the things that happen to them are, in a sense, what the plot is. You can't take character and plot apart from each other, really." I agree, but I would add to the mix, trouble. Social Psychologist Jerome Bruner states, "Trouble is the engine of narrative."

Instead of worrying about what is happening in the story (plot), instead concentrate on who is doing what (character) and why it is not happening. (trouble).

When you are engaged in play, remember your story is still taking many shapes and by word dancing the interplay of character and trouble, your plot details will unfold.

In fact, from this play, you will begin to understand the relationship between episodic scenes or actions in the story between and among the characters.

In this clip, I found in playing out loud, one of the controlling factors has to do with Red, but I would not make this discovery without the play.

I invite you to Word Dance and discover how significant trouble is with your story and the development of where it is going.

Kevin D. Cordi, Playing with Stories

Feel free to share with us how you are Word Dancing. We are listening. Play on!

137 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page