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Short Story Writing Tips - Are Matters Getting Worse For Your Character?
by: Nick Vernon
Things have to get worse before they can get better. This is necessary in short stories.

Characters have to struggle to reach their goals. Stories where everything goes right for our characters are dull ones. You can devise several ways to make things difficult for your character. Let’s look at each one…

1) By Having The Character Make Things Worse For Himself

The mind is a powerful thing. If you tell yourself you can do something and put in the effort, you can. If you are pessimistic in your thinking, the obstacles will seem overwhelming.

A character can make things worse for himself by his way of thinking.

I’ll give you an example…

Your character’s goal is to become a kindergarten teacher. The conflict is whether he can do it. He fears that he will fail the exams that could get him into university.

How will he make things worse for himself?

By worrying too much, whether he can or can’t do it, that he fails himself in his exams.

2) By Having Another Force Make Things Worse For Him

The force can be anything like nature, weather, province, circumstances, etc.


Your character is stuck on a deserted island.

Conflict - how is he going to get off the island?

How will things get worse for him?

He builds a boat and the storm shreds it to pieces (weather.)

3) By Another Character Making Things Worse For Him


Your character’s goal is to marry the girl he loves.

Conflict – Will her family accept him? She is rich. He is poor.

How will things get worse for him?

Her mother sets her up with another man who is of equal social status to them.

There are many ways to make things difficult for your character. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.

About the author:
Besides his passion for writing, Nick Vernon runs an online gift site where you will find gift information, articles and readers funny stories. Visit

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