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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Strategy # 7 Harmful Dangers: Deprivation

Build Your Story: 8 Strategies for Writing Innovative Setting with Impact


“Because the hero is in the world of the common day, the hero’s struggles are usually more like our struggles; they are common-day struggles, the kind of struggles we, the reader or viewer, might be involved in.” James N. Frey

Have you had a few late nights recently, or decided to diet, or quit smoking? How cranky are you?  Sometimes making daily choices can impair our ability to think clearly, or react quickly. But once we know our own bodies, we also now how to compensate for what we consider to be a temporary lack of competency. Or give us enough wisdom to know how to deal relationally with those closest to us.

What could happen when your character is unaware of a medical condition, or lack of vitamins, or dangerous allergy until deprived of a protective natural covering? Those who live in natural disaster areas know what basic food supplies need to be kept as emergency rations, but what if they don’t include a food that becomes a ticking bomb deprivation for a character. Or their resources have been destroyed or stolen?

A friend of mine recently experienced a severe case of food poisoning. On day three she forced herself to work barely long enough to make an important presentation, and then returned to bed.

What is important enough to your character to endure physical discomfort in order to fulfill a commitment? At what point does the level of pain make that impossible?
What are the hidden dangers?


Another key ingredient will be your character’s instinctive reaction to danger whether real or imagined. To discover the potential damage put your character into that moment of choice. Overwrite all the sensory details. Then write up the scene twice, once for each possible decision: to flee or fight, or to submit. Think of the actual danger too. Will he fight with valor if the threat is physical but run and hide if it’s emotional? Or vice versa?

Share: How did your character’s reaction surprise you?

Read deep, marcy

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