So here I am trying to get my characters from point A to point B, and like a good little writer, I am throwing in lots of obstacles. They've lost something important, they've gotten caught stealing, they've been tied and gagged, they've been chased. But it's obvious to me that they have to get to point B sometime, because point B is going to be an interesting place. My readers want to be at point B. How much patience are they going to have if I throw in yet another obstacle?
Because this could go on endlessly, really. Someone can twist an ankle, break a knee. They could get caught yet again. Do I keep letting them get just a little closer to point B and then yanking it out from under them? More importantly, how much of this will a reader tolerate?
I still remember trying to read Lord of the Rings. 150 pages for the hobbits to make it to the tavern to meet the wizard, and then the wizard wasn't even at the fracking tavern. I never picked up that book again.
See, the longer it takes me to get to point B, the more point B has to be Super Fantastic Awesome. But if it's too easy to get to point B, I have a boring book with no tension. How do you find the middle ground?
-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages