Many of the best stories are centered around problems and solutions. Often, problems are introduced in the middle of stories and resolved at the end, keeping readers interested in your story until everything is resolved! If your child is relatively new to story writing, introducing the importance of problems and solutions will greatly benefit their ability to form a plotline. Stories that have no problem and solution are very bland. It’s difficult to construct a plot with no problem to solve. Let’s look at some common story problems and solutions, and how your child can come up with some on their own!
Introducing problems in stories is important to make sure your story remains interesting to your readers. Without some type of conflict, a story may not be reaching its full potential! Problems are an easy way to make your plot more exciting. A problem can be a minor or major element of your story. In fact, a story problem can even become the main point of your story. Problems in stories mean your character(s) must problem-solve, which can make for a better story than one where everything goes as planned and nothing goes wrong. Story problems make stories interesting!
It is important for your child to consider how much of the story they want the problem to take over, with either a minor or major problem. When brainstorming ideas for story problems, problem resolution is also a component to keep in mind. Here are some questions for your child to consider when deciding on details about the story problem they are going to introduce:
If your child needs some more ideas of what types of problems they could include in your stories, these examples might help get them started. There are plenty of types of story problems, but we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ones with some examples!
This story problem involves an inner conflict within one of your story characters. They are struggling with their inner thoughts, beliefs, or concerns.
Here’s an example of a character vs self problem:
A woman wishes to travel the world but is too scared to do so.
This story problem involves a conflict between two of your story characters. This could be a classic villain vs hero scenario, but it could also be between two friends or family members in your story.
Here is an example of a character vs character problem:
Two best friends are competing to get the highest score on their upcoming math test.
The character vs society story problem is a conflict between a character and society as a whole. This type of story problem can present itself in many different ways, but involves a “self versus the world” mentality. This problem often occurs because the character disagrees with certain ideas, beliefs, or practices of the society they’re living in.
Here is an example of a character vs society problem:
A teacher struggles to convince the town council for more school funding.
This type of story problem is a conflict between a character and the world around them but in a more physical sense. It’s different from the character vs society conflict because it focuses on the natural world rather than the societies within it. A character vs nature story problem could involve a natural disaster, for example.
Here is an example of a character vs nature problem:
A person who’s never been camping before gets lost in the woods.
This type of story problem isn’t as practical as some of the examples listed above; it’s often used in fiction stories that may involve magic, powers, or the supernatural. The character vs supernatural problem involves issues between a person who has no powers and some type of character who does, for example.
Here is an example of a character vs supernatural problem:
A person is being haunted by a ghost.
We’ve come up with solutions to each of the story problems we provided above! This will further help your child understand story problems and solutions. Here are our examples:
Now that we've provided some examples and given some guidance on how to write your own story problems and solutions, we’ve come up with some activities for your child to understand how story problems and solutions go hand in hand. Happy problem-solving!