"If you want to hold your readers, give them something to worry about." --Ayn Rand
The climb was moderate at first, but soon twists, turns, and sharp drop-offs made things more complicated. Still, we were having fun. Other hikers greeted us, joggers nodded, and those with dogs on leashes peeked over at the sleeping baby.
After a time, though, conflict arose. Trail signs proved confusing. The "loop" we thought we were on never looped back. Did we miss the turn? How much farther should we go? How long before nightfall?
And then the baby cried.
In the diminished evening light, it became more and more difficult to see things: dog doo-doo, ankle-twisting ruts, how close we were to the edge. Fewer travelers passed by. The bushes rustled with the sounds of unknown animals. A supplemental bottle for hungry baby emptied all too quickly.
Subplot: a man going up the mountain pushed a stroller, young child strapped in. Where in the world was he going in the quickening darkness?
Crisis. Baby's needs could no longer be ignored--but there was no place along the way to stop. Alone on the mountain, there was only one way out--and that was to keep walking. With the night's curtain dropping lower and lower, Mommy Suzan nursed baby as she cautiously stepped along on the shadowy trail.
Resolution? All downhill from there! We finally emerged in a parking lot bathed in moonlight.
Several vital elements in a good story--complications, conflict, subplot, crisis, resolution--entered into our hike that night. For us, it was suspenseful to say the least!