Stories are made out of difficulty. A writing teacher I had in grad school referred to a climactic point of difficulty in story as ‘the swirling vortex of doom.’ He pointed out how novice writers would do a great lead up to the SVoD and then in the end, veer off and make it suddenly resolve without ever letting us see how the tension played out.
Here’s an example. Tom and Keira are traveling down the highway in the desert when their van breaks down. Tom thoughtfully lets Keira drink their last bottle of water. Then they take off walking through the desert. Tom gets dehydrated and passes out leaving Keira alone and confused.
OH NO! EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE! DA DA DON!
At this point, the reader is glued to the page wondering what will happen next. The novice writer doesn’t want to write this scene. It’s difficult. Requires delving into dark emotions. She thinks, oh well, they’re going to live, so might as well just jump to post rescue. Tom wakes up in the hospital and Keira tells him how he almost died and she rescued him.
And this is where your reader pours gasoline on your book and burns it as a substitute for the exciting part that you left out of the writing.
This is known as cheating the reader. This scene, the tension, the suspense? That’s what readers work through the other parts of the story for. That’s the pay off part. The page turner part. It’s also a great way to show character. Keira goes through a personal trial during the time when Tom is unconscious. She not only keeps it together – or doesn’t – but she gets him and herself to safety. There’s a whole story in that. There’s a whole movement of a novel. Unless your book is about something completely different and this is just a moment of past, there’s no reason, and no excuse, for leaving this to our imaginations.
It’s like stringing a lover along in the most delicious possible way and then saying, “Well, we’ve done this before so you know how it ends. I’ve got to do the laundry now!”
Would it come as a surprise if the lover never came back for seconds?