What Could Go Wrong?

I watch the TV show Revenge. It starts with a simple idea. When Amanda was eight years old, her father is framed for terrorism, convicted and sent to jail. Amanda never sees him again.

On her eighteenth birthday, she learns that, per her father, she is wealthy. She changes her name to Emily and sets out to take revenge on those who destroyed her life. She will, one by one, destroy their lives.

In the beginning, all goes well, and the first three people on her list fall. Then things get complicated. People show up she hadn’t planned on.

Frank is a security guard to the Graysons who framed Amanda’s father for their crimes. Because of his loyalty to the Victoria Grayson, Frank is relentless in digging up the truth about Emily and uncovers her past.

Her boyfriend Danny’s college roommate, Tyler, is jealous of Emily and tries to undermine their relationship.

Nolan becomes Emily’s only ally. He truly wants the best for her, but he tends to complicate things.

And then there’s Jack, Amanda’s childhood best friend. I think she was so focused on revenge that she’d forgotten about him, but all those old feels came flooding in as soon as they meet. Feelings she must deny if she is to finish what she started.

Yes, it was simple in the beginning, but now things are becoming messy. Emily spends as much time cleaning up those messes as she does planning her next victim. She’s already slipped up once and almost got caught.

It’s the unexpected things that complicates the story and makes it interesting. Readers become hooked and want to know what will happen next.

I remember a story where bank robbers planned the heist to the last second. They drove the route and walked through the motions over and over until the timing was perfect. They knew every red light and every corner turn. Then on the day of the robbery, all was going well, they successfully robbed the bank. They comely drove away to the next phase of their get away plan when they were unexpectedly stopped by a school crossing.

It was a large city, with a large school and a lot of slow moving children. The seconds of delay stretched into minutes. The robbers were going to be late; it was imperative they stick to the schedule. Very slowly the car begins to move through the school crossing. Someone calls the police and the chase is on.

It doesn’t have to be a lot, just the littlest of unexpected things can through a perfect plan out of sorts and makes the story interesting.

What’s the story about? What’s the worse that could go wrong? How does it complicate things for your characters? What are they going to do about it? There’s your plot.