I think I upped a level in story last night. I was really close yesterday, when I was walking to work after writing my morning page, and realized that a choice I was making with my setting was going to make my story work completely. Then I had decided to do a “final” pass on Bezoar, because the weekly challenge didn’t really speak to me. I was reading along, and I realized that a scene I was working on was “a character asks another character to do something, and then he does it.” No tension there. I needed some reason for the one character to make the other character do something, and the other to resist, but then do it anyway. And I had a throwaway line that I’d tagged about the setting, that I was really going to throw away, because there was no good place for it, and I realized that if I made that line into the tension of the story rather than deleting it, and moved it to the front, then my characters had a reason to do things, and a time frame.
Stories need tension. Characters can’t just ask each other to do things and then do them. It’s not interesting to read. I wonder if anyone on OWW tried to point this out to me, and I missed it completely.
Also, all those “maybe” phrases I write, and “perhaps” and “possibly”, those aren’t for the reader. Those are for me, so I know what I was going for, and I should take them out in the second draft, turning them into show-don’t-tell moments.