In a recent post my blog buddy Sarah mentioned the different roles that readers take when reading a manuscript. I must admit that I fall into the Dare Devil category. It is often a joke in our critique group that I love peril in a story. Life is too short to read boring books. I want my characters to face adversity and trouble and grow from the experience. I want to see a character tied to the tracks with a train approaching and show me how you get them out of that dilemma. I don’t want the blood. I don’t want gore. I want an honest to goodness problem that seems impossible to solve and a clever solution that makes me say…ahhh.
Pacing is important when creating peril for your character. You want to give your reader the “What happens next” moment that pulls them along in the story. Author Jody Hedlund ‘s post about Practical Ways to Leave Your Readers Hanging From a Cliff, gives some helpful ideas to give your readers that experience.
Here are a few of her suggestions:
• End at a point of physical danger to the main character (or another character)
• End with a crucial decision needing to be made
• End with the hero receiving devastating news
As you can see, they don’t always have to deal with a life or death situation, but just honest to goodness conflict for your character.
Be sure to check out Jody’s post for other ideas to keep your readers hooked. Writer Caro Clark also has a great post on creating conflict in writing that is well worth a look.
So go put your character up a tree and throw some rocks at them. Remember life is too short to read boring books.
Writing on the Sidewalk