There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Trouble

When I’m writing, conflict and tension and raising the stakes are always in the front of my mind. All the best stories contain lots of trouble and all great characters struggle with trouble:
Trouble understanding.
Trouble being understood.
Trouble with love.
Trouble with hate. 
Trouble succeeding with Plan A.
Trouble finding a Plan B.
Trouble on the inside.
Trouble on the outside.
Trouble here.
Trouble there.
Trouble with truth.
Trouble with lies.
Trouble showing compassion to others.
Trouble receiving compassion from others.
Trouble communicating.
Trouble listening.
Trouble acting.
Trouble reacting.
Trouble with humanity.
Trouble with sanity.
There are endless amounts of trouble your characters can fall into. And some of the most memorable characters overcome their troubles–or at least give it their best shot! 
Probably the only good thing about we writers running into trouble ourselves is how much it can inspire trouble for our characters!


What kind of trouble plagues your characters? What is the nature of trouble in your story? What kind of trouble do you like to read about?

24 comments:

Jocelyn Rish said...

My character definitely has trouble with the truth, which leads to the bigger trouble of the story when she finds a dead body and no one believes her since it disappears before she gets back with the cops. It's fun to stir up trouble for our poor characters.

Wishing you continued success with the A to Z challenge,
Jocelyn

J.C. Martin said...

Trouble definitely does add to the tension and conflict in a story! Kurt Lancer has troubles alright: troubles coming to terms with his past; troubles coping with his current situation; troubles plaguing his family.

J.C. Martin
A to Z Blogger

SA Larsenッ said...

Great choice for the letter T. Adding more and more trouble is always great to add depth and character to our stories. Our character's reactions can use that trouble to teach us about them and even ourselves.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Most of the troubles my characters face are internal and emotional and have to do with them overcoming their own fears and insecurities.

Shelley Sly said...

This is a great list of trouble. :) I love to get my characters into dilemmas. Trouble being understood and receiving compassion from others are the ones I've written recently.

Steph Sessa said...

My characters always seem to have trouble accepting themselves as who they are and not trying to be someone else. The also keep getting in trouble with secret messages.

Sherri Lackey said...

In my current WIP my main character's trouble is with herself. She is having an identity crisis...which gets her into even more trouble, of course!

When I read other people's books I guess I don't have a particular kind of trouble I like to read about. One book series I particularly enjoy is Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. His character, Kvothe, has a knack for getting himself into all kinds of trouble.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Trouble can really make a story, can't it? Great list of potential troubles, Laura!

Dot said...

Fun post. Mine would definitely have trouble with time management!

Lucy Adams said...

I like to read about characters facing the troubles of daily living, magnified.

Lucy

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

Mine has trouble keeping her mouth shut. Lol.

T.D. McFrost said...

This was an awesome post, Laura. My latest WIP is a love story so trouble isn't really the goal I'm striving for, however, there's a twist in the final stretch that is indeed troubling.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again. :D

Julie Dao said...

Some of my critique partners told me to add more trouble because there was a lack of it in my story - and they were totally right! Conflict is what makes a story involving and easier to relate to :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I like any trouble that is not frustrating. When characters do stupid things just for the sake of generating trouble, I get thrown from the story.

Maybe I should reword that to say I don't like stupid characters doing stupid things that cause trouble for themselves and others. Think of the weakling in the action movie, the idiot in the love story, or the kid who tags along and gets everyone but himself killed.

So the sort of trouble I like is smart trouble, something realistic and manageable, that is caused not by idiot decisions (although this can happen), but rather by someone who is a victim of either circumstance, fate, or a worthy antagonist.

- Eric

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I like what Eric said above about "smart trouble." That's the kind of thing I like to read...and write.

This is something I struggle with in my work - making more trouble for my characters. :)

Nancy Thompson said...

My novel is all about forgiveness so that's the biggest problem for my characters, how to forgive each other. The nature of the trouble in my book is revenge, and you just can't win when vengeance is all you care about. I love reading about characters who just can't seem to understand each other, no matter how hard they want to.

Thanks for dropping by today and leaving a comment. Loved your post. I'm a new follower via the A to Z.

Clarissa Draper said...

I love creating trouble for my characters: relationship troubles and troubles with their jobs. It's nice to know that the characters face similar problems. We relate.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great list of different types of trouble. That is a LOT of trouble for characters to get themselves into (with the writer's help, of course.)
: )

Susan Oloier said...

Oooh, I really do like your list of possible troubles. I may have to print that out and put it by my computer when I'm writing.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Love your list!

Hm. My characters seem to have trouble with getting physically injured. Why do I like hurting my characters? There may be something wrong with me.

Saumya said...

You are definitely the reason I understand the importance of tension and trouble. Thanks so much for teaching me some valuable lessons on that, Laura!

melody-mae said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really liked this T post!!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What an excellent list of trouble! Definitely something to keep in min while writing... :)

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, everyone!!! I enjoyed hearing about all of the troubles your characters are getting into. We writers sure love piling it on, heehee!

Thank you so much for all of your comments! Hello to the new Zigzaggers!! *waves excitedly*

Love,
Laura