Resolution By Fate

When you have spent 200 pages piling one suspenseful incident atop another, making your hero's plight unbearably tense, do not solve his predicament by ushering in the cavalry or its present-day equivalent. If the hero is going to be saved, it must be by his own hand or by events he has initiated himself. Likewise, do not solve the plot problem by having the protagonist-antagonist clash turn out to be "one big mistake." A reader who has breathlessly followed the growing terror of your hero's condition is hardly going to be pleased when the villain opens the dungeon door, smiles, shakes hands with the man he has been persecuting, and explains that the entire affair has been a ghastly case of mistaken identity or misinterpreted motivations.

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