Developing Plot #2: Deciding The Main Obstacle

When you decide to write a story, whether it be a short story, a novella, or a full book, deciding what the main obstacle or problem of the
book is important. No matter what your genre is, what the characters are doing, or who your characters are, the main obstacle is what brings
the entire story together. Bottom line: if you have no obstacle, you have no story.

For instance, let’s take a popular book and see what it would like look without a central problem. For instance, the Hunger Games by
Suzanne Collins. The series’ main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, lives in world where the planet’s government has not only divided the
country into twelve districts, but has put into motion a yearly ritual in which a boy and a girl are chosen to participate in deadly games
in which you must kill or survive until you are the last person standing, like a modern day gladiator ring. When her young sister is chosen,
Katniss steps in and volunteers to take her sister’s place, putting herself in danger in order to protect her sister.

Now what would have happened if her sister hadn’t been chosen? Katniss would never have had a reason to volunteer for the Hunger Games. Without that, she never would have gone on to become the central figurehead for a revolution. She never would have saved her friend/love interest, Peeta, and would never have gone on to be the first couple to survive the games. She never would have broken the entire Hunger Games system, and never would have helped the rebellion take down the antagonist for the series, President Snow. Without that central obstacle in the first novel, without her sister being chosen, Katniss never would have had a journey worth telling.

This is why the central obstacle is important for any book or book series. Without that first and main obstacle, there is no start to the
story. There’s nothing for the story’s protagonists to overcome. There’s nothing tangible to hang onto, and therefore the story collapses.

Question: What is an example of a story that lacked a central obstacle?

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