Drama is the key ingredient to all stories.
Drama is wanting something you don’t have (or have and don’t want).
The harder the journey, the obstructions, the opposition, the greater the drama.
If people tell you your story isn’t dramatic enough, it probably means things are either too easy for the character, or what they are in pursuit of doesn’t seem worth the effort.
An easy way to make things more dramatic is to raise the stakes. More to lose, more drama. Harder to get, more drama. Better opposition, better drama.
If you raise the stakes to extreme levels, or even levels that don’t seem appropriate, you will overshoot drama and land in melodrama. That is, where people make a big fuss over nothing.
But melodrama is still preferable to no drama.
You need three things for good drama: interesting problem, interesting solution (or attempted solution), interesting consequences.
An interesting problem is one that does not have an obvious fix.
An interesting solution is unexpected and specific to the character providing it. Not how anyone would deal with it. How this particular person would deal with it.
Interesting consequences should occur whether the character succeeds or fails.
Even after you fulfil all these criteria it is important to remember that the first thing you think of probably isn't the best you can come up with.
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