The two things that really struck me in the PDFs were that stories are how we make sense of the world and in a good story, the characters actively solve a problem.
I never thought about these concepts before. And yet, of course, the characters are solving a problem or there wouldn’t be any story.
Jeanne, it’s more than just the characters solving a problem. Look at the word in the first paragraph you wrote: ACTIVELY. Actively solving a problem. The MC has to have a deep and obvious personal involvement in the problem (the GMC of the plot). The weight of whatever it is must rest on his shoulders. (Note to All: Please take my use of pronouns as generic.) Then, when through reading–turning pages–the reader morphs into the MC, then reader gets that personal emotional involvement as well… and the dopamine flies!
I think readers want to know that everything’s going to be all right, that no matter how bad things get in life, everything’s going to be all right. I think that’s one of the reasons why a happily ever after or at least for now is so important in romance novels.
The HEA (or even the HFN) is a requisite in the romance genre. Not so in the SF genre or the police procedural genre…but that’s okay, because each genre comes with its own special flavor of dopamine, and readers who CRAVE (and they do CRAVE) that flavor of story go running after that specific one.
When we’re looking at openers, we’re learning that the opening scenes/chapter carries equal weight with the expected genre-specific ending. In romance, the hero/heroine must come to a happy result. In a murder mystery, the murder must be solved/murderer or impetus revealed. I know you know all this. 🙂 I’m just trying to get our brains all in the same place. 🙂
>^..^< <— cat trying to get my attention while I’m teaching!
//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//