Difficult Choices

            Recall a time when you were faced with two possible choices. At the time, one definitely seemed better than the other, but the least favored choice would be easier to accomplish.

            For example, you could go to college and earn a Master’s Degree, a choice that might enhance employment opportunities. However, it will take at least a year to complete.

            On the other hand, you could expand your current skills by attending workshops, seminars or weekend trainings. Each one you complete goes on your resume, making it appear that you are constantly working on improving yourself.

            The choices might be more mundane such as whether to have the beef enchilada drowning in sauce and cheese or the tortilla soup. Both are delicious, but one has far fewer calories.

            Your task is to write a scene in which a character faces two choices. Make sure that both are compelling and offer some type of reward. Your character must take time to consider both equally.

            To make the story more interesting, add in another character. This allows for dialogue, which provides opportunity for depth and detail.

            Have fun with this one.

A Personal Dilemma

Generally a dilemma is presented as someone having to make a choice. One choice might be seen as the lesser in terms of risk and possible negative outcomes, but it might also not give the results that the individual desires.

The second type of choice may be clear, but it might result in things unforeseen, things that could be harmful or dangerous. In fact, the character might find the end life changing in an unbearable way.

When writing a scene in which your character must make a choice, present options that are demanding, clear-cut, but terrible. Create tension by making the reader question the character’s judgement. The reader should second-guess possible outcomes and want to warn the character away from taking the wrong step.

Your task is to write a scene in which your protagonist is faced with two equal choices. The decision must be made quickly as there is no time to research or deliberate. This will amplify tension. That hurry will lead to devastating consequences for himself or for those he loves. When the scene ends, perhaps an alternative presents itself that he didn’t see beforehand.

At the end the reader wants to know if the protagonist has changed in away way. Is he humbled? Chagrined? Remorseful? Ashamed? And if he is, how has the experience altered his thinking.

Have fun with this one.