A hero who never gets into any trouble isn’t a hero, but a couch potato. And nobody wants to read about a lazy sod who doesn’t do anything. The whole reason we’re telling THIS story and not another one is BECAUSE he gets into trouble.
Then again, he also needs to be able to survive it, otherwise my story would end on page 12 with a funeral.
Unfortunately, I constantly keep getting my characters stuck in a pickle and have no idea how they’ll get out again. I’m also very good at leaving myself dubious notes like: “escape & flee city”. Yea right, piece of cake, I just wish I had also left myself a note telling me HOW.
When I get back to writing that particular scene, I sometimes have to change the entire previous section, because there’s no way the gate would be unguarded, and unless I’m writing Spiderman I can’t have the characters scaling 50-foot-walls or dig themselves a tunnel with a spoon in a hurry.
There’s always the option of the sewers. But somehow I felt that would be too obvious. And if it was possible to just crawl out of a guarded city through a sewage tunnel, what would stop invading enemies from crawling in the same way? Big sturdy iron grates and a score of guards, that’s what would stop intruders. And me from escaping.
Hot air balloon? (Too easy to get shot down, and how do you steer that thing?!)
Magic portal? (If spice traders could do magic portals, they’d be wizards, not spice traders.)
Bribery? (What’s stopping the guard to take my money and capture me anyway?)
You see, getting stuck isn’t the problem. Finding a good way to get un-stuck is the mad part! But it’s also the most fun. And it opens up so many new possibilities. At one point my characters were so stuck, they didn’t have any way to get out of their particular trouble themselves. But I also didn’t want to change the events leading up to it. So how does it continue?
Will they die? Divine intervention? Do I send in a rescue squad? If yes, who?
I’m having a lot of fun with them at the moment, although I’m sure they would disagree!