We all dislike negative, unhappy things happening in our lives.

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

Reality is drama, disaster, and tragedy are what life is all about.

I don’t like drama in my life. I don’t like it when other people suffer and are unhappy. Unfortunately in fiction writing no drama makes for a dull, uninteresting plot.

A story without tension is flat and quickly put aside. That’s not what any author wants to happen to their books.

The BONI Intensive Seminars taught me how important suffering and drama are for fictional characters … if a writer wants to fully engage readers.

Tension on every page” to quote Donald Maass.

“Throw another bear in the canoe,” JoAnn Ross advises.

Drama is an integral part of real life and a critical part of a fictional character’s story. Readers want to become emotionally involved with our characters. Drama builds suspense, anticipation, and uncertainty by creating conflict, and it’s that conflict that keeps readers turning the pages.

When drama and suffering are absent, readers do not connect with our characters and story. They don’t read our books. I’ve had to learn to “kill my darlings”  and it hasn’t been easy.

If you need a nudge to add drama to your writing, let me suggest:

  1. The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
  2. Breakout Novel Intensive Seminar
  3. One Stop for Writers where you’ll find loads of resources for adding conflict.

And keep an eye out for the 2nd edition of The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Stress and Volatility by Becca Puglisi, releasing on May 13th.

Writers, what suggestions would you add to my list?