I thought it could be interesting for you to see into the plot I'm dealing with right now and stretch some mental muscles by seeing what I'm doing wrong so far. I'm totally willing to hear your struggles too, so feel free to relate to this however you like. Ok, my story starts out on this quaint little farm, the protagonist is a baby/toddler being held over his mother's shoulder while she is upset at his father and he reaches out to the beautiful world outside while he is being walked into this messier journey. The idea was to symbolise a feeling of how we prefer the wilderness to the lives we lead. Then we reveal that he's actually talking to a friend in a bar about it. The guy is working making french fries in a take out joint, he is partying every weekend, and he is heartbroken but trooping on through the pain. Which at first seems pretty ordinary, except he is an ex-time traveller whom escaped the collapse of his alternate dimension, and it was a result of his technology that led to the end of his world. While you think it "just happened" it is actually 100 years later, because after the collapse of his world he spent a lifetime trying to repair it and in his rage and alcoholism, he refused to let himself die as the destroyer of a universe, and he found a brutal mechanism through which he could prolong his life and find one last hope to change what he had done. Aided by his AI assistant he has been searching for anomolies that suggest he had overlooked something and that a remnant still remains of his dimension through which he can bring it back. But right at the start of the story you find out that his search FAILS, and he wakes up at midnight and walks the street with a hipflask full of liquor. He begins screaming almost takes a drink and throws it down the street, collapsing in agony, fearing that he will NEVER by any means be able to reverse what he did. The idea of the story is about the wilderness we crave and the hole our life falls into and how both are connected somehow. So I made the character's backstory pretty intense to reflect the feelings of neglect we feel about our lives. It is an exaggerated, symbolic, and sci-fi-esque drama. It is a piece that is meant to give a window into the soul of grief, but in a light hearted and fantastical way. Who doesn't want to learn about cheating death, travelling through time, and how to create space travel, while at the same time having a laugh. The character is funny because he is honest, and he has no regard for most social limitations, yet hangs around ordinary people, and lives an ordinary life. In secret he is a sad man, but in public he is cunning and insightful and doesn't miss a beat. So there I am with this character and this intro sequence all fleshed out, but I can't figure out a respectful path for the story to take. Should I make him live a normal life, should I have him travel through time again, should I go into his past, or should I create a startling and unexpected future? I am asking myself the question from the audience's perspective, "what story direction is most satisfying for this character?". I know I want it to be funny, I know I want the drama to stand out, I know I want the sci-fi element to maintain some mystery, but I'm not actually sure what happens to this guy. As a reader of fiction stories myself, I love subtle stories about real growth, and I do not mind at all if the accomplishments of a plot is small so long as the character draws me into their world and makes me feel like I can relate. I'm struggling to find his story, but I really want to hear what he has to say about life because I think his honesty will uproot things many readers bury within themselves, and if I can get them to laugh, and to acknowledge deep feelings, I think I've got a book I can approve of to my friends to go check out (my standard). Problem is the character has me all emotional and now I can't see his story!!! He needs a plot, so he can tell his story unbothered by the millions of roads it could be taken. Which story is going to be the right one? That's the problem. I have a cool premise but I get emotions that obscure the plot this should have if the audience is to really enjoy it.