the Vin Diesel plot test and the anti-Vin Diesel problem

Any plot that asks a protagonist to do something they’re capable of and then go and does it is like a movie where Vin Diesel is asked to go do anything in his wheelhouse. The audience watches Vin Diesel Vin Diesel for ninety minutes and they feel like they got their Vin Diesel worth.

But safes had better be dragged through crowded city streets without striking a single bystander.

If, however, the plot is Vin Diesel goes out to fetch plot coupon from abusive ex-father’s history and spends the movie battling the ghost of him as he fights to retrieve the plot coupon, Vin Diesel has bigger problems. He’ll have to defeat the hold his dead father still has on him to accomplish his goals. Even if he doesn’t succeed, no one needs multiple cars to explode.

So the Vin Diesel test is to ask yourself what kind of plot do you need? If there is no meaningful character growth intended, the story has to still give the reader what they bought the book to read. Whatever your character is Vin Diesel at, they must be great at Vin Dieseling to stand out from all the other writers just trying to tell stories about Vin Diesel Vin Dieseling.

Conflict only comes when a character is faced with something they couldn’t or wouldn’t do. If the Vin Diesel character spent his life becoming Vin Diesel so he wouldn’t have to deal with his emotional trauma, it’s even more important to show the reader what the character most needs to change about themselves but wants to alter the least. If Vin Diesel could just Vin Diesel his way out of this problem, it would not create conflict in the story.

The anti-Vin Diesel problem is the problem your character can’t just Vin Diesel himself out of. A character that succeeds by Vin Dieseling harder needs the kind of problem that being Vin Diesel will actively make worse.

There’s nothing wrong with writing a story about a Vin Diesel that Vin Diesels, but the journey has to be better than the destination. When your character Vin Diesels at what they do best without something meaningful stopping them, their destination should be considered a foregone conclusion.

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