The Moral Dilemma

            A moral dilemma is a situation in which a person is torn between right and wrong and involves a conflict that forces a character to examine her own principles and values. The choices the person makes may leave them feeling burdened, guilty, relieved, or even questioning their own values. The individual must decide what actions she can live with, whether the outcome is unpleasant or even illegal.

Dilemmas form the central conflict that the protagonist encounters. Taking into consideration that real people face all kinds of dilemmas in life, the choices they make along the way can have long-lasting impacts in terms of effects on relationships and on society as a whole.

            Imagine asking someone out on a first date. Should he go to the museum or see a movie? If he decides on the movie option, which one, the romantic comedy or the high-speed chase? What happens if the date doesn’t like chase movies and so is disappointed and bored? The relationship might go nowhere fast.

            Let’s consider what the secretary should do when she discovers that he fire her, or if he’s desperate, kill her. If she ignores his actions, she might be a co-conspirator when the theft is revealed.

            Your task is to write a scene in which the protagonist is faced with a moral dilemma. Make the stakes high enough that the wrong decision places her in danger. Include enough description so that readers understand the situation, but not too much to slow down the scene. Dialogue is necessary to reveal the intricacies of the relationships involved.

            Have fun with this one.

Long Lost Friend

Do you remember what it felt like when a friend that you hadn’t seen in a log time crossed your path? Did you experience joy or dread? Did seeing her call up fond memories of places you’d gone and things you’d seen? Maybe she tormented you, called you names, and so you fear that she’ll start it up again?

We’ve all experienced the appearance of someone from our past, so this is a story that all readers can relate to. Begin with the characters. Who are they and what happened in their past that perhaps they preferred to keep buried?

Now imagine a story in which a character runs across someone from the past.

Your task is to tell that story. Complexity is crucial for readers need to feel those conflicting emotions.

Begin with the setting.  The place and time ground readers in the story. Expand to include emotional reactions as you explore how the characters feel and react. Use dialogue to draw readers into the relationship.

Have fun with this one.

 

Handling Controversy

Many issues arise that require us to take a stand either for or against. For example, when younger perhaps a bully intimidated a peer. You might walk away and leave the victim to suffer alone. Or maybe you stepped in between the two and demanded that the teasing stop. Your actions depend upon how you normally handle adversity and those actions say a lot about you.

Your character’s reactions depend upon her personality. If she’s easygoing, she might laugh it off and make light of the issue. If she’s temperamental, she might explode and lash out, loudly stating her opinions. If she’s meek, she might duck her head and sit silently while the controversy swirls about her.

Your task is to write a scene in which a conflict arises and your character reacts. Begin by establishing scene peopled by a few individuals that are known. Dialogue is critical for without it, the controversy would not come to light. Details enrich the scene. We want to feel the tension, smell the sweat, taste the fear, see the reactions.

This will not be a happy scene but it will reveal quite a bit about your character.

Have fun with this one.