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canstockphoto1945689So your sleuth has a murder to solve. Unless you have a really boring story, the road to achieving that challenge will be blocked at every turn with danger, hardships, and difficulty. Those obstacles though are often what makes the story memorable — Indiana Jones running from a giant boulder comes to mind.

Obstacles aren’t always physical. Sometimes emotional and psychological obstacles make an effective barricade. Some stories offer a combination of those obstacles. Whatever the case, a strong plot gets the hero up the tree, throws rocks at him, then gets him back down again.

Here a few different types of obstacles and a few examples to get the creative juices flowing:

Obstacles caused when the Protagonist

  • has a fear to overcome
  • promises not to do or say something
  • makes a mistake
  • becomes a suspect
  • is pinned down by enemy fire

Obstacles caused when the Antagonist

  • starts a fire to inhibit progress
  • causes an explosion
  • takes a hostage

Obstacles caused when a secondary character

  • is unable to tell the truth
  • is unable to reveal critical information
  • makes a mistake
  • accidentally gets in the way
  • comes between the sleuth and something or someone
  • is a returning old lover
  • is a witness who disappears or is murdered

Obstacles caused by external influences

  • Bad weather hinders a search
  • Bad weather prevents an escape
  • Bad weather prevents the execution of a plan
  • An earthquake occurs
  • A vehicle breaks down
  • A vehicle runs out of gas
  • Innocent people are in the way
  • Transportation is unavailable
  • Evidence is destroyed or disappears
  • A weapon cannot be used
  • Ammunition has run out
  • Supplies have run out
  • A bridge is washed out
  • The road is out


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