In WRITING EMOTIONAL IMPACT, Karl Iglesias tells writers to tap into the reader’s curiosity, anticipation and uncertainty with surprises and a strong dilemma. To create a mysterious future, show surprises in the character’s reactions, behaviors, dialogue, or whatever is unpredictable but consistent with the attitudes and desires of the character. Another reason to make a character complex is that more surprises are possible yet, logical according to what the reader already knows about the personality.
A dilemma is considered strong when the character has to decide between “two excruciating choices”. Iglesias gives SOPHIE’S CHOICE as an example. She had to choose which of her children to save and which to kill. Writers often call an impossible dilemma a “Sophie’s choice”. He says the reader “waits at the edge of his seat for the character to make that difficult choice”.
Hada in HADA’S FOG has a dilemma, not as dramatic as Sophie’s, but one that affects her last years of life. She craves the peace and community at her home on the East Coast but due to chaotic family demands on the West Coast, she must decide between New Jersey or California. At seventy years old, she knows whatever she chooses will be where she will live out the rest of her life. Her soul’s desire or her loyalty to family, which will she choose?