How to Raise the Drama in Your Story

Don’t just let your characters come down with a nervous fever. That’s boring and hence not very dramatic.

Let them fall off a horse and break something (neck, if you want to kill them; not neck, if you want them to survive).

Let them fall off a horse and break something AND hit their poor heads on a stone so they’re out cold.

Let them fall off a horse and break something and hit their poor heads on a stone so they’re out cold AND leave them to lie there the whole night long. In a ditch. In a muddy ditch.

And after they’ve been rescued then they can come down with a nervous fever due to some psychological trauma that hit them before they dashed off into the night on their horse (from which they then fell off, etc., etc.) (you could also have the horse step on some part of its rider after it has thrown him off, just saying) (this might leave the lovely imprint of a horseshoe on interesting body parts) (just sayin’) (oh! oh! I’ve just thought of something: what if a highway robber were to come along while your poor character was lying all alone, bleeding & with a broken … uhm … leg in yonder ditch?).

2 thoughts on “How to Raise the Drama in Your Story

  1. Laura Vivanco

    This sounds like the kind of thing that would happen in a chivalric romance. At least, I think that in Amadis de Gaula the hero almost dies as result of going into exile in despair, and at other times he gets into fights which leave him and the other participants with what ought to be such severe injuries that you’d think they couldn’t survive the blood loss, never mind the possible brain injuries. But they do.

    Jane Austen, on the other hand, almost has Marianne die as a result of getting a bit damp:

    Two delightful twilight walks on the third and fourth evenings of her being there, not merely on the dry gravel of the shrubbery, but all over the grounds, and especially in the most distant parts of them, where there was something more of wildness than in the rest, where the trees were the oldest, and the grass was the longest and wettest, had — assisted by the still greater imprudence of sitting in her wet shoes and stockings — given Marianne a cold so violent, as, though for a day or two trifled with or denied, would force itself by increasing ailments on the concern of everybody, and the notice of herself.

  2. Sandra Schwab

    Chivalric romances are the best. The heroes often suffer so very nicely from love-sickness, and people die in interesting ways (e.g., by bashing theyr owne braines out). *g*

    As to Marianne, this business of catching a cold merely because she got damp makes you wonder whether she was truly a sturdy British girl. After all, these days British and Irish girls venture out in the skimpiest of mini skirts in the middle of winter without showing any signs of succumbing to hypothermia. Marianne, on the other hand … tsk, tsk, tsk.

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