This reminds me of the MIW discussion. If we interpret "worse" as the most extreme piling-on of All-Suffering and Absolute Devastation, then MIW might be horrible advice. Similarly, no one is talking about "nothing" happening to a nice guy. And "something" may not mean explosions, dead babies and wife and dog, and Galactus beginning to eat the planet–although I do think that type of extreme is being implied in the way the word is being used. Put another way, "nothing happening" to a character, let's say someone named Bob, would be written like this: Bob. That might be the entirety of Chapter One. But let's be generous and give something for Bob to do for Chapter Two; still, nothing happening to him: Bob smiled. The moment we introduce another character interacting with Bob, a bit of rain falling on Bob, a bill arriving in the mail that Bob needs to pay, then something is happening to him. So every novel has something happening to the character, at least every novel I've ever read and every novel I can imagine that will actually be published. Geo's examples were: Ordinary person having something extraordinary happening to him (or around him, requiring his reaction/interaction) Extraordinary person having something ordinary happening, or doing ordinary things. #1 was fine, but #2 was not. I don't know, but I think that a super-powerful wizard who receives a jury summons might be kind of funny and interesting–maybe not if that were the entire plot, but only one in a series of very ordinary events. But maybe comedy/farce is being excluded from consideration? Either #1 or #2 will depend on execution, in any case. I agree. This describes every novel ever written. This describes any theoretical novel about an ordinary person doing ordinary things, an extraordinary person doing ordinary things, an ordinary person involved in extraordinary events, an extraordinary person involved in extraordinary events. Pretty much every possible configuration.