Welcome back to this humble blog. I just had one of those annoyingly long debates with someone on the interweb. The kind I try to avoid like the plague… I’m this positive person who tries to always look at the glass as half full, even when it seems like it’s almost completely dry, and the person I argued with is the exact opposite. For the person I argued with, it’s always an uphill battle. Everyone try to keep him down, push him back. When I try to suggest that he can actually do something about it, I get the “You don’t know what it’s like” argument that apparently trumps all reason…

But I think I DO know what it’s like. Uphill battle that is.

What happens when you write a novel? You take a character out of his cozy little existence and send him on a journey.

The journey is made of many stages (12 to 19 actually, check it out) and by taking your protagonist through these stages you get the reader engaged. This is a gross oversimplification of the writing process, but I want to keep it at that level.

Every good novel has a few “landmarks” towards which the story strives. You need to get to the first plot point, then the midpoint, the second plot point and the climax. If it reminds you of something else, I won’t blame ya 😉

In a sense, you start at the bottom and climb up from beginning to end. Your hero starts at his regular world. All fuzzy and warm but then something happens, he’s thrown into a journey he didn’t necessarily wanted to embark on (in fact, he rarely does want it). The tension rises. From the point things escalate of course until the midpoint, which is a BIG DEAL. If you think we reached the peak and it’s all downhill now, you must have not read enough novels… From the midpoint things continue to escalate until you reach that second plot point, at which stage guess what? The reader is biting his nails and the tension reaches even newer heights. And then just for kicks, you bring your hero the brink… and…

In most novels the end gives the reader that moment of *big sigh* where all (or most) turns out for the best. In some cases, your hero dies – in these cases there is a resolution that otherwise satisfies. On fewer novels the end is… open-ended?

So I DO know what an uphill battle is. It’s the whole process of writing a novel – escalating, adding tension, raising the stakes, reaching new peaks in the plot and in the lives of our characters.

Are you a writer? How do you go about going up that hill? What do you use to raise the stakes? Add tension?

Are you a reader? What gets you to keep flipping the pages? What keeps you awake at nights?

Let me have it!

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