I'm sifting through the fog that is my brain to see what I can possibly blog about today. Usually I'm struck by too many ideas, but a nasty head cold has inhibited my ability to think.
Since the WIP is forever on my mind, I'll pull something from that. I'll just take a sip of my hot cocoa and… Oh, oh! I know! Let's talk about stakes and when to up them, huh? Conflict is always good to blog about.
I write urban fantasy, but what I really write is action adventure stories with a paranormal twist. Therefore I come up against the same challenges as any genre writer, such as keeping the stakes high, or just throwing substantial obstacles at the characters to keep the story moving.
A problem I often have is coming up with an obstacle my character can believably overcome. I can think of the obstacles just fine, but I end up creating a problem so heinous that the real challenge is resolving it so the story can move on. That's the fun of writing fiction. I may lay awake at night trying to come up with the best way for my character to fix things, but I know that if I'm worried, the reader will be worried to. Which is the ultimate goal of writing a compelling story.
Just the other day I had a scene all planned out in my mind. The bad guys were holding a minor but important character against his will. In fact, he was being tortured into cooperating with the villain who needed him to perform a type of ritual magic that will summon a fallen angel that the villain wants to bargain with. Well, my heroine would really like to free this poor guy, especially since she feels partially responsible for his capture (which she is), so she lies to the villain and tells him she can perform the ritual herself. Let the innocent guy go.
There, on the page, right before my eyes, the villain says, "He's already dead." What the--? Oh, great. He can't be dead! I need him to help the heroine in a future scene! Yet as resistant as I am to this problematic outcome, it makes sense for it to happen. Elements of the story came together this way for a reason. And somehow I'll make it work. My heroine needs me to, or she's a goner. The fallen angel is, after all, her father.
I know we've blogged recently about how our characters take us by surprise, but it's never a boring subject. At least not to me. Has this happened to you recently? I'm guessing yes. 8^) Want to share?