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Don’t Duck Trouble – by SA Barone

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Creative Writing -

In fiction writing the best time for the reader is when the main character is in trouble. Fiction writers love to write about their character in trouble, one reason is they can use their skills and imaginations getting them into a great conflict, and then getting them out of that same conflict.
If a writer lets their character relax, have a good time, have fun, if they let their character always be happy and content and never have a thing to worry about, then their story will die, readers won’t get to the third chapter or page. Give your character all sorts of problems; put your character in the worst kind of trouble and your reader’s interest will perk right up.
Even though in real life we do whatever we can, most of the time, to avoid trouble, as fiction writers we must do the opposite. We must find ways to put our main character in the middle of some kind of problem or conflict that will keep our reader’s interest. Then we must find an interesting, edge of the seat way to get our character out of the trouble or solve the conflict that will leave our readers happy and satisfied.
According to writer, Jack Bickham, “Conflict is not bad luck, or adversity. It isn’t fate. Conflict is a fight with another character, or group of characters. It is dramatic and exciting for the readers.”
Understand that conflict in not necessarily a physical fight. It can also be two cars racing along a highway, the driver of one car intent on forcing the other off the road. It can be a young girl trying to convince her parents to let her go to the big dance with the new boy in school. It can be two little boys sneaking into a house to find out if it really is haunted. It can be a man fighting a bear or a shark.
How do you make sure you have conflict in your story and not some kind of adversity or blind luck? Jack Bickham says, “Make sure your characters are involved. Give them opposing goals; make sure they are motivated to struggle. In life, you might walk out of your house and get struck by lightning. That’s blind luck, meaningless, against which you are powerless. But in fiction the character has the power: he can control his own destiny.”
The outcome of your story will depend on your character, not blind luck. Make sure you give your character real trouble to deal with, don’t duck trouble in your story or you may put your readers to sleep.
Until next time keep reading and writing.
S. A. Barone

Shirley is a published children’s writer. She has publishing credits in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty, and Chicken Soup for the Pre-teen Soul. Shirley  has won a Distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the California School Boards Association for authoring an elective program that was adopted in schools in the Western United States and in areas of New York City. To learn more about Shirley and her art, visit www.sabarone.com

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