Who likes to play chess? I remember learning about chess pieces and their individual moves when I was a teenager. The reason being, we had a chessboard at home and I wanted to be able to play the game.
I have to say, simply learning how to play wasn’t enough to make me play well. But chess strategy appealed to me. The strategy element can be incorporated into short stories, too.
I see a chessboard as the story setting, and chess pieces as the characters. Hopefully, the players enjoy the game before them, but there will still be a purpose to the game – just as a story needs a purpose.
What do I mean when I talk about story purpose? It’s about defining what the plot is about, and for characters to seek out goals.
With chess as the backdrop, a story might revolve around a serious chess competition, where winning is everything. Or a chess game might simply be a bit of fun, with two good friends spending quality time together, the game before them mirroring the paths of their lives.
It’s your move
A good story will contain character development. That’s what I like about chess and any strategic game – the course of events will alter depending on the moves and decisions made.
If you are anything like me, you’ve probably made wrong decisions over the years. I don’t mean in a moral sense. For example, simply forgetting to do something, which you may have regretted later.
In a story sense, the unexpected often reaps rewards. Characters making impulsive choices can pave the way for some wonderful storylines.
If you think about the last story you wrote, could you have written it another way? Just as there are countless moves in a game of chess, can you weave your plot in another direction? It’s often a good course of action when faced with story stumbling blocks.
Enjoy seeing where your next story writing move will take you. Hopefully it’s into the pages of “The People’s Friend”.