Delovely, Delightly, Dilemma?

Dear Readers:

In my learning-curve writing days, I found that each of my scenes must state a goal and be jam-packed with conflict. And it needed to end in disaster. Disaster? The goal and conflict assignments seemed logical. The last one? Why would I want to put my heroine in deep doo-doo at the end of every scene? And things needed to escalate as the story rolled along until dilemma piled on top of disaster concluded in…maybe death? I like her. I want her to succeed. But I also want my reader to turn the page. And that won’t happen if the scene has a happy ending. There’s no reason for the reader to trot along to see what exciting happy thing happens next. But throw in a disaster and they can’t help themselves. So I spent a fair amount of time devising challenging, threatening, even wicked endings for each scene. My teacher said the deeper and more complicated they were, the better. A straightforward “no!” disaster rated a lukewarm okay. The “yes, but…” disaster was more intriguing and she gave it a smiley-face. But the grandstand, three-star, best disaster of all was the “no, and furthermore, young lady” left ringing in my protagonist’s ears. I was told this would not only ratchet up the worry level of the reader (sorry) but it would make them like my Patsy character more. Who’d a thunk it! The plot thickens.


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