Recently I was speaking to a customer who’s appliance had broken, she was frustrated…but not just because the appliance, but also because they had run over a deer with their car (very expensive to fix the car…and poor deer). In the course of the conversation she had a great positive attitude despite the frustration and she laughingly mentioned ‘Murphy’s Law’ (this theory basically states that anything that can go wrong….will go wrong). In life this theory seems to be true, doesn’t it?
Well whether it’s true or not in life, I will tell you right here and right now that it MUST be true in fictional writing. A good story will have a LOT of conflict (otherwise no one will bother to read it). So, as you’re writing and you come up with conflict, ask yourself: How can I make this situation ten times harder for my main character(s)? (Of course you will also have to find a genius way of getting them OUT of the situation too). Don’t let that intense scene end after just a few paragraphs, pull your readers in emotionally. Make your reader FEEL that bullet. Make your reader want to cry (even though they’ve never cried in their lives before). Make your reader commit to the story by putting your character into such an impossible situation that they can’t imagine how they will ever get out of it. (Of course you BETTER have a good way out) Also, I would say make sure that you leave ‘bread crumbs’ or clues that will hint to what that way out might be. Don’t just all of a sudden give your characters super powers when along the way of the whole story they didn’t have them….