A Writer’s Dilemma – Drama and Suffering

We all dislike negative, unhappy things aka drama.

Who wants to suffer and be unhappy? I sure don’t.

But – reality is drama, though unwelcomed most of the time, is what life is all about.

Our puppy’s reaction to hearing thunder for the first time.

Happy drama is a very different thing.

I love the drama our new Old English Sheepdog added to our world. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you can relate. He changed our lives dramatically while adding so much laughter and love.

As a writer, I have such a difficult time being hard on my characters. I don’t want them to suffer or be unhappy. Unfortunately, that makes for a dull, uninteresting story. Drama is an integral part of real life so fictional characters must suffer.

After attending the BONI Intensive Seminars where Donald Maass stresses Tension (drama) on every page to engage readers fully, I finally understood the need to create more suffering for my fictional characters.

Readers expect drama and want to become emotionally involved with our characters. When drama and suffering are absent, readers fail to connect with our characters. They won’t read our books.

If you need a nudge to add drama to your writing (as I did), let me suggest:

1. Read The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
2. Attend a Breakout Novel Intensive Seminar
3. Visit One Stop for Writers website where you’ll find loads of resources like The Emotion Thesaurus

And, just for fun here’s some video inspiration on how to add  drama to a dull scene:

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One Comment on “A Writer’s Dilemma – Drama and Suffering

  1. Hi Judythe! Loved your article on the importance of writing drama/tension into our stories. As a fellow writer, I too have trouble making bad things happen to characters I’ve created. But you’re correct – we must engage the reader by making the stakes higher and higher. The video at the end of your article hilariously demonstrates what you wrote! Absolutely loved it! Donald Maass is a great writing teacher.
    Thanks for the article!

    Temple

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