My latest 'Beginners' piece in Writing Magazine is called 'Make Them Suffer'. And no, it's not a suggestion about inflicting harm on anyone or anything living; it's to do with taking your characters out of their comfort zone and putting them - and the readers - through the hoops of adversity.
It's basically another form of conflict, which is the food and drink of all storylines. But this isn't merely one-on-one as you'd write about in good-guy-bad-guy situations (or gals - they fight, too). This is placing your main character in tough scenarios so that the reader can share in the pain. It's also bringing to life the dangers the characters may be facing and the relief - or otherwise - of their escape.
It's what keeps the readers reading - the basic job of all writers, fiction and otherwise.
My other piece this month is the New Author profile, which covers J S (James) Law, former submariner and author of 'Tenacity'.
This has a timely and relevant connection with my item above (all carefully planned, of course) because the central character, Danielle Lewis, is a member of the Royal Navy Military Police, and her comfort zone is definitely NOT on board a nuclear submarine. But that's where she has to go to solve a murder... and the entire 'boat's' company is strictly male, claustrophobic and unwelcoming to the point of death.
Read more about the book and its author: www.jslawbooks.com