Monday’s post, which touched on a tough decision that has been rattling my cage lately, brought forth quite a bit of discussion. (Thanks for that!) And got me thinking about the choices our characters are faced with and the roads we have them take.
They tough, of course. It wouldn’t be a journey if everything was simple and fun. And sometimes the road the hero or heroine goes skipping down, leads to a dark place.
When we, as writers, create situations where characters have to make choices, they are tough by design. It’s common knowledge that they shouldn’t be thinking I’ll take the road on the left because it’s newly paved. No their choices should be between which option sucks less. The road on the right goes through a jungle where I might be attacked by lions and tigers and bears, but if I take the road on the left, there are numerous sink holes, tar pits and quicksand patches…not to mention the boogie man. And no matter which road they take, you better fulfill your promise and have Mr. Hero or Miss Heroine meet up with at least half of the obstacles you foretold.
In other words, they need to mimic real life.
Sure, we are all faced with choices, where the correct answer is clear and simple. But the majority of them — the one’s that will make an imprint on our minds and stay with us for a long time — are the tough ones. The decisions that kept you up nights and nearly gave you a stomach ulcer. The ones you second guessed yourself on for weeks after the fact. These are the real choices, and the kinds of decisions that will just as strong of an impact on your reader.
Remember this next time you’re working on your outline (if your a plotter) or working your way through a scene (for us pantsters) the tougher the decision and the harder the choices, the higher the tension.
In other words, keep it real.