Recently I was reminded that the best way to make a story intriguing is to give your leading a character a goal and then throw obstacles in their way to make it difficult or even impossible for them to obtain it.
My one thought was, but it can be challenging to toss in realistic sounding obstacles without sounding cliché. Unique ones are even trickier to come up with.
Of course, when you have thoughts like that, life decides to teach you a lesson.
My week so for has been a major lesson on how life can mess with your plans in new and unique ways, or maybe some old ways, just with new twists.
Monday I had nothing planned except attending my local writer’s group meeting. Due to my daughter’s schedule I also had to take her to and from her class and we were, of course, and again, out of milk, so a trip to the store would need to be done, but both of those were necessary and par for the course.
The day was going smoothly and I was sure I needed to get ready to pick up my daughter because I would need to get her home before I could make my meeting and it was going to be a close call no matter how I did things.
Then my married daughter called.
We talked so long that the daughter I needed to pick up also called because I hadn’t responded to her text, which I didn’t notice came through while talking to her sister. By this time it was late enough I would barely have enough time to get her picked up and home and then run to my meeting IF there wasn’t any traffic.
I expected some congestion because of construction on Highway 15, but generally Highway 95 is clear once I get to the interchange. Not this time. In fact, the traffic for 95 was actually slower than for 15, which never happens. I finally get on 95 but it doesn’t really pick up and just when I think we might finally pick up speed the lane I’m in comes to a complete stand still. The other lanes are moving though.
I get out of it and eventually make it past the off ramp that is backing everything up, and on to pick up my daughter.
Driving her home we again run into heavy traffic and cars at a standstill on the highway waiting to get off at the same street that had things backed up going the other direction.
I have since learned this particular street, which normally runs three lanes in each direction, is currently under some construction and the powers that be saw no problem with restricting it to only one lane in each direction. Considering it is a main through street it is major league backed up and now that's spilling over to the nearest exit.
Anyway the entire round trip should have taken an hour. It took me that long just to get to her. By the time I got her home, any attempts to make my meeting in that traffic would have gotten me there roughly about the time it usually ends.
So instead of going to my meeting I figured I’d better make that grocery run. I had no desire to go alone especially since it involved several gallons of milk and juice.
Five of five family members were in bed and or fast asleep. After trying to cajole three of those people to go with me I finally resorted to bribing the youngest family member.
After getting the groceries put away and it not being all that late, not for me anyway, I determined I’d do something productive and work on my writing, like maybe this blog post.
I did get on my computer, but then the power went out. The first time was only for a few minutes, then it flickered a few times. Then it went out for roughly two hours. The estimated repair time meant it would be back on sometime between 11:30 and midnight.
I went to bed, though I did prepare a nice to-do list for Tuesday. I had hopes.
The day started out fine. Right up until I exited the highway on the way to my daughter’s class. Engine overheating. Again!
I got her to class, but spent three hours waiting for my husband and a tow. Then the rest of the day at home waiting for my car to be fixed. So much for my errands.
However, I learned a lesson.
When life wants to throw you a curveball, there is nothing mundane about them.
I think that’s what we need to remember when we start throwing curve balls at our characters when we are creating those intriguing stories.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.