Make everyone fall out of planes first, then explain who they were and why they were there in the first place.”  In the past posts, we’ve been looking at dramtic novel openings and taking readers beyond their control levels.  I read that, “fiction is about stuff that screwed up.”  In real life we try to avoid screw-ups, but a good read throws characters out of planes, off trains, and through window panes.  Be fearless in order to be nasty to people who can only haunt you fictitously – your characters.

First find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.”   I say find out what your hero wants, then don’t give it to him.  Conflict leads to challenges, to fights, to revelations, to more fights, even more revelations and to myriad emotional losses and gains.  Find out what your hero wants, then make him suffer for it.  If your hero suffers, your readers will too.  Then everyone gets to cry on one another’s shoulders.

Here’s an excerpt:

from The Artist

“I’ve been borrowing his strength and so have you.  How do you think you’ve survived your wife’s death?  Where do you think the power came from?”

A sudden terror seized him, as Sandra turned to the old man.  She placed both hands in Rigo’s.  “I’m ready.”
“You can’t do this!” pleaded Joseph.  “Don’t!”

Sandra faced Joseph, “If we don’t do this, he won’t make it home.  It’s time to pay back my loan.”  The artist’s old hands clasped firmly around hers.

Joseph had witnessed exchanges of power before, but never between a dead person who had been kept alive through the energy of a donor’s soul, and now was returning this energy to its rightful owner.  Sandra’s skin greyed; lacerations, clotted with blood, marked her body. Hair fell in clumps on the floor; teeth rotted; nails cracked; breath became foul.  Eyes rolled back, and hands, bruised and eaten by time fell away from the old man’s.

When it was over, he offered words of gratitude and kissed her forehead.  “Thank you.”  He had taken enough strength and purpose to make his return trip home.  He gathered the girl into his arms and rocked her and kissed her again.  “Thank you.  You meant so much to me.” He turned to Joseph. “We’re lucky if we get a second chance.  Her second chance was ten lifetimes of happiness – happiness most people don’t have for even one second.  She knew this day would come.  We’re wasting time.”

“We can’t leave her in here,” cautioned Grayson.

“She’ll be gone soon.”  She started to fade.  “You won’t find her when you come back.”