There is nothing worse than a boring story. Especially when you just bought the hardcover version. Imagine paying $20 for a book, expecting it to be a great read, based on the teasers on the inside flap.
Then you begin reading, holding the book gently and leaning forward in anticipation, only to find the first paragraph so dull that you want to toss the book across the room. But you don’t because you paid good money for it.
You finish the first page, then the second. You trudge forward, page after boring page, waiting for something interesting to occur. After about 50 pages, you give up and put the book in your recycling pile.
As a writer, we have an obligation to keep readers engaged. The way to make that happen is by creating story in which the tension ebbs and flows with each turn of the page.
It would be nearly impossible to maintain that tension throughout the entire book, and as a reader, it would be overwhelming to be constantly on alert. So what does a writer do?
Your characters must be challenged, but not inundated. New twists occur, but at a comfortable pace, not like on a sled ride down a constantly changing hill.
As soon as your character accepts the new twist, as soon as the character moves on, throw something new at her. Make things hard. Make your character have to fight through the obstacle to attain her goal.
No trite endings. No easy resolution. No happy birds singing, no stars bursting in the night sky and no simple coincidences that solve all problems.
Your task is to write a scene in which life is not easy for your protagonist. He wants something that will take effort to achieve. He begins his quest, only to be blocked by a major occurrence. He stumbles around until he finds a way past, then within a short period of time, comes across another obstacle. At the end of your scene, the main character can either be feeling safe, or he can be adrift, flopping around feeling insecure. It’s up to you.
Have fun with this one.