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Dealing with Dilemmas

Hello writers and friends. Today I want to talk about one of the most struggling aspects of life and character development, dilemmas. This goes beyond a simple yes or no. It is more complex than personal preference. These dilemmas are what develop personality in a character, while simultaneously being relatable and real. All to support a rich reader experience. This is the buttercream frosting or dollop of whipped cream that adds just a touch of decadence to each bite. Let's delve into this a little deeper.


These character dilemmas explore morality and ethics. They encourage deep reflection for the character who must ultimately face a choice that most would rather avoid. Things such as condemning one to save many. Caring for an oppressive ruler. Having the opportunity to enact vengeance but choosing mercy. We see examples all across creative narratives. From stories to screenplays we see characters facing impossible choices in difficult or unlikely situations. Such is life right? Maybe that's why we're drawn to these moral predicaments. We recognize a small portion of ourselves or others in the characters that are experiencing these events.


So what makes strong dilemmas? The characters. What is your character experiencing and why are they facing that choice? What is their personality and what are the consequences? How does their choice impact plot development? What happens to other characters after the choice is made and how does that develop their character arcs? How will this add to character development? Is this necessary for plot?


Dilemmas are like salt. Too little and your story may be bland; too much and you may lose your appetite. Dilemmas need to be added appropriately and intentionally. Reflect on your own life experience and recognize the tough choices you've made. How would your character react to that situation? Look at the world they live in and what would they decide?





Consider: How can dilemmas enhance writing?


Conversation: How do writers craft meaningful dilemmas?


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