By Ronda Simmons
In one way or another, all writers are storytellers, and all great stories boil down to the same essential elements: the hero or heroes want something, and to get it, they need something. Wants and Needs.
There are two parts to every story: the plot is the thing that is happening on the surface with concrete goals and challenges; the theme is the thing happening below the surface, the spiritual journey.
What the hero wants is the A Story: the orphan from Kansas wants to go home; the small-time boxer looks to beat the champ; the beach town's sheriff wants to catch the shark; Frodo wants to destroy the One Ring.
To achieve the A Story, our heroes need something, the B Story: Dorothy needs the Cowardly Lion, the Tinman, and the Scarecrow; Rocky needs Adrian; Sheriff Brody needs Hooper, the shark nerd; Frodo needs Sam.
|Not that kind of Bee Story!|
Put another way, the A Story is the external story, the plot. The B Story is the internal, or spiritual plot line, the transformation. The B Story runs parallel to and interweaves with the A Story.
The B Story is often times referred to as the Love Story, but it doesn't always have to be romantic love. For example, the B Story in Star Wars: A New Hope" the B Story is the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
|He could be her B Story|
The B Story character is a "helper character" that will somehow assist the main character to learn or grow. The Hero cannot achieve his or her goal without something that only the B character can provide.
If your story isn't working out, consider whether you have fully explored what your hero needs to achieve his or her wants. Incorporating an effective B Story might be the answer.
For more on how the A Story and the B Story work together check out these websites:
The "A" Story and the "B" Story
What is the B-Story? And Why That Love Triangle Doesn't Cut It
Making your A, B, and C Stories Work in Your Rewrite