In my opinion, authors today overuse gun-wielding villains to heighten a story’s suspense and action. As a result, storyline and character development suffers, leaving a reader with an easily-forgettable story that’s been seen dozens of times before. With a little work and creative thinking, you can add conflict and suspense to your story by using dynamic antagonists and leaving out the cliché gun-pointing scenes.
Think about your life to date, or just open the newspaper, and you’ll find several examples—sans guns—reminding you that humans neither are to be trusted nor admired. And that makes for great plot.
- In childhood, were the secrets you shared with a trusted friend divulged hours later to other classmates?
- Have you ever read about or taken witness to a frivolous lawsuit for purposes of monetary gain?
- Ever seen someone or a group of people suffer unfairly at the hands of a bully?
- In adulthood, ever have one of your greatest allies turn against you faster than you can blink an eye?
The answer to all four of those questions is likely “yes”. See, you have plenty of inspiration deep-down inside you, just waiting to be manipulated, twisted, and merged into a suspenseful story with conflict using dynamic antagonists, not guns.
Leave out the guns and your stories will become richer, more detailed, and less predictable for the reader.