THE TORTURE CHAMBER
Novelist Angela Hunt once said, “Take a character and torture him for 300 pages.”
When I consider Hunt’s words, I think of Harry Potter. He dealt with the everyday challenges of growing up: schoolwork, competitions, and relationships. But he also had an evil villain who vowed to kill him, which greatly complicated his life. Throughout the series, Harry faced one obstacle after another, both physical and emotional, in his efforts to stop Voldemort. They increased in difficulty until Harry is left with one heartbreaking decision.
I’ve noticed in my own stories that I love putting my favorite characters into dangerous situations, including hanging off the side of a cliff. I can imagine one telling me, “You don’t like me very much, do you?”
Don’t make life easy for your characters. That’s boring. Readers want to see them overcome their situations. The more you throw at them, the richer your story.