Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pssst! Do You Want To Hear a Secret?

Hi there! Here's a new piece I wrote for the Budding Writers League website.

Enjoy!   :-)


TEXT & MAGIC: Secret of the Thrilling Tale


Greetings, fellow writers!

For my first piece here, I’ll talk about the most basic plot setup that you can use to get your story going.

If you do some research, you’ll find that there are many names for this.

But I like to refer to it simply as:



Some months back, I was inspired to write a fantasy story for younger readers.

My son was a fan of the Beast Quest series, and we spent many evenings exchanging ideas about how we could have fun creating our own fantasy entertainment.

I spoke to my publisher about this. Before I knew it, I found myself starting work on Book 1 of the Time Talisman series.

That’s how my book The Secret of Monk’s Hill came to be.

This Hero-Villain-Prize formula allowed me to come up with the basic plot elements very quickly:

Hero = Justin Low, Emily Anson and Roz Hamid, three plucky youngsters in present-day Singapore

(Okay, that’s three Heroes, not one, but it works too.)

Villain = Megamo, a demon sorcerer who wants to take over the world

(And he has a whole gang of baddies behind him.)

Prize = a powerful gem that can make Megamo invincible


Once I had these in place, it was time to get the Heroes and Villain into a fierce tug of war over the Prize.

In The Secret of Monk’s Hill, our three Heroes are magically transported over 100 years into the past. 

Before they can get home, they have to help a young Shaolin monk protect his magical gem from Megamo. 

So here we have the kids and young monk on one side (Heroes), and Megamo on the other (Villain). 

The whole story is about how fiercely they fight for the gem (Prize), and who wins in the end.

Of course, there are also many other cool characters in The Secret of Monk’s Hill. 

Like pirates, bandits and horrible creatures from the Shadow World. These help to keep the story buzzing along.

But as long as I stayed focussed on the struggle between the Heroes and the Villain, I found that my writing progressed smoothly and effortlessly.


Would this Hero-Villain-Prize approach work for your own story?

Your Prize can be anything cool: a sword, an ancient scroll, a special key, and so on. 

What’s more important is how desperately the Hero and Villain want to win.

The conflict they create will bring your story to life.

This week, perhaps you can spend some time experimenting with different ideas. 

And if you come up with something cool, do share your works here on!

See you soon.

Next: How to launch your story with a bang!

Don Bosco’s next book Newton’s Curse (Book 2 of the Time Talisman series) will be available in early March 2012. See for details.