Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Mae West said that, and she should know. To a regular human, that sentiment may be a recipe for disaster, but to a writer, those words should be voluptuous pieces of seductive advice.
One of the really cool things about writing is the power you wield with your words. YOU are the evil ruler of the universe, and everything must bend to your superior will.
Really. You can write the story however you want. You can make horrible things happen to the good guys while the bad guys sit around and drink beers. Or, you can take every last thing that your heroine cares about and toss it off the boat. Add sharks if you like. Then sink the boat. See what I mean?
Any time you’re stuck in your writing, whip up your handy-dandy evil laugh (check out Dr. Horrible, if you need inspiration) and start wreaking havoc. Need to spice up a slow scene? Spend a little time thinking about “worst case scenarios” and then add the one that triggers the most trouble for your character. When she gets past that, toss in a new disaster. In no time, you’ll be commanding fire and brimstone with the best of them .
I’m not suggesting that you add ray-guns to your historical romance or blood on the sheets to your hard-boiled sci-fi, but you can find a clever (and reasonable) calamity to add to any story line if you spend a little time thinking about it. You alone have the power.
Remember that people love to read about the terrible things that happen to other people, especially if your underdog can figure a way to survive (or even triumph!) in the end. So, the next time you find yourself reluctant to edit a section of your writing because it’s just not that compelling, get out your Death Stick and make some evil things happen. (And if you end up with some really nasty success, tell us about it in the comments!) Come on people, let’s be writers wreaking havoc!