The stories that use insight and decision are usually those where the main obstacle is the character’s internal problem. For example, in stories where love and friendship is on the line and the obstacle is the main character’s values, it may be that the hero has to make a decision to place love above something else.
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Just as I need to know my hero’s goal, motives, and plan, I also need to know the same things about my antagonist. In fact, in some stories the antagonist’s plans are what drive the story.
Taking the readers to the point where it seems their worst fears will be realized and then turning it around only makes the victory sweeter. Giving the reader great hope, just before everything falls apart, makes the loss feel so much more terrible.
Are Facebook, Twitter and IM having any effect on the quality or volume of my work? These questions, coupled with a very long list of goals I wanted to accomplish, plagued me like a broken plot.
What you need to do is keep throwing troubles, conflicts, surprises, and obstacles at the reader. You also need to let the hero have some successes. This allows the reader to have cause to fear AND hope, and to not know for sure how it’s all going to turn out.
You become a writer by writing. You learn by damaging your ego, and giving more of yourself than you take. By a thousand revelations, by millions of words you improve.
If the main character is sympathetic and interesting, the reader will root for her and want to see what happens. If some of the particularities of the character and problem are surprising to the readers, it will generate more interest than if it’s something they’ve seen many times before.
You are cordially invited to join the Milford SF Writer’s Conference, held at the Trigonos Centre in Snowdonia, Wales.
Have you thought about starting with a bang right away? Or does your story want another hook before you roll the main one out on the stage?
Somewhere during the summer, when I got the latest “I can’t sell this” from an agent, I realized, “You can’t, but I can.” I have not looked back since.