The most powerful moments in your story are when your protagonist has to make a choice. Of course, we tend to skip the mundane choices, like what to wear and what to eat, unless they have an effect on the story. But their key choices – whether to proceed or retreat, reach out or isolate, speak or remain silent – drive our stories.

Considering a current or recent project, look for the significant choices your character makes and examine how they affect the plot. Are there places your protagonist could make a different or more interesting choice? If you presented them with an either/or choice, is there room for a surprising third choice?

If you find that your character doesn’t make too many significant choices or if all their choices are easy, you might have a problem with goals and stakes. When your hero has a strong goal and motivation to succeed, the obstacles before them will also increase, presenting them with more and difficult choices to make. Remember: they might have to choose between two good options, between two values they hold, or between two dooms.