We have all faced difficult choices in our day to day lives, whether it’s choosing to move to a new city where you don’t know anyone or ending a relationship that isn’t working or even a change in career.
The same applies in your writing. Sometimes your protagonist will face a choice that will have far reaching implications for everyone and it is up to you to decide what they do and the consequences of those decisions.
The choices that your characters make serve as a useful tool for both character development and driving your narrative forward. It aids character development in allowing your protagonist to grow and learn from the experience; they may feel guilty or triumphant depending on their choices and this is reflected later on in your protagonist’s journey later on when facing a similar crisis.
Immoral and moral choices often come back to haunt or reward us. For example, you witness a young female being attacked by a group of men. Out of fear you choose to hide (immoral); the woman dies as a result and as a bystander you are left to suffer with the guilt as the men walk free. On the other hand you choose to act and call the police (moral). The woman is saved, the men are locked up behind bars for life and you have a clear conscience. Actions have consequences in either scenario but it is up to you how they play out.
Decisions made by the protagonist can also drive the narrative forward as the consequences play out. Let’s reflect on trucker girl for a moment. When her lorry is first stolen by a group of bandits she has a choice to make. She can let it go and move on or choose to challenge the status quo and face them head on. It is the result of her choice that will determine what happens to her next. If we argue for a moment that trucker girl chooses to do nothing the result of that would be that while she would avoid conflict with the bandits she would struggle to survive without food or water supplies, potentially causing her to die.
On the other hand choosing to take on the bandits in an attempt to reclaim her lorry and supplies could result in her being kidnapped or killed. When she chooses to confront the bandits and recover her lorry it results in a brief victory only to later on have devasting consequences as the bandits attack a nearby camp searching for more supplies.
Choices. Life is full of them, and the resulting decision will set of a chain of events far beyond our wildest imaginations. Be brave and give your characters tough choices to face. They will thank you for it so remember to choose wisely and write on. TTYL.