As usual, author Joe Konrath has some excellent advice for writers. Today’s lesson: "Avoid Plodding Plotting."
The fact is, readers don’t want your hero to be happy. At least, not
until the end. They want angst, conflict, ruined dreams, dashed hopes,
impossible situations, neuroses, struggle, heartache, near death
experiences, ruined lives, and pain.
All you need to know about plotting is twofold.
- Give your characters goals.
- Don’t let them reach those goals.
He goes on to give some excellent examples of how to pull this off.