Storytelling Tip: Trapped in a Routine

As with real people, characters can become trapped in their routines. When a person sets up a routine in order to achieve a goal, service the infrastructure of his or her life, cope with an emotional necessity, or engage in a desired ongoing experience, the situation, reasons, passions, or even the nature of the person himself may have changed in some way that makes the routine no longer effective, counterproductive, inordinately costly, or unsustainably unpleasant.

Still, because the human mind responds to conditioning, a person may continue in their routine by sheer force of psychological inertia. And since the human mind filters out going non-threatening repetitive stimuli (such as a ticking clock or air conditioner noise – called a selective filter) a person may never even become aware that they are in a routine, no matter how difficult or unenjoyable the routine is.

Stories that explore such issues can be very involving for readers or an audience, as they not only strike close to home, but also spark internal consideration which may illuminate similar solvable dissatisfactions in their own lives.

Learn more about incorporating thematic topics in your story in our book:

A Few Words About Theme


Learn more about storytelling in our book:

50 Sure-Fire Storytelling Tricks!