[photo courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons; Vivianna_love]
I have recently done some thing different. Well, different for me, anyway. I bought a pair of skinny jeans. I'll be the first to admit that I've remarked on more than one occasion that the skinny jean is a fashion that really should not be revived. So why did I buy them? Well I had a discussion with a friend about doing things that are just a little bit different. Doing something you wouldn't ordinarily do can spice up your life - even it it's just a fairy step like buying a new style of jeans.
Every story is about challenges of some kind. From Cinderella and her struggle to get to the ball, to Harry Potter, a wizard orphan in the midst of a great prophesy. Challenges, tests, and how characters react to them make the story.
I once heard that you should force your characters out of their comfort zone at least three times within a novel. I don't know how many times I 'test' my characters within the average novel, I've never counted and I don't plot so I couldn't say. However, understanding that the central conflict and the smaller subsequent difficulties the characters face within a story are a type of challenge, enables the writer to create believable and interesting reactions to them. This in turn engrosses the reader and creates an engaging read.
In comparison, we organise our real lives to generally be as comfortable and easy as we possibly can. Buying the dishwasher so you don't have to wash up, driving to shops (two minutes away) instead of walking or riding a bike - we have made a cultural habit of avoiding discomfort - maybe that's why we like reading and watching tv so much!
Anyway, that was my thought for day! - And by the way, the skinny jeans actually look ok :)