I love this technique and I found it by accident.

While blogging, I used it and I realized that it was special.

Like life, the most magical moments catch us off guard.

Let's jump right in and get busy!

What is Complication?

Before the smart people start talking, let's clear the air right now.

A Complication is not a Problem.


Because a Problem has a definite solution, usually one solution.

Not so with a complication, especially a complication in Story Design.

A Complication is like a Sequence of Problems that build progressively worse over time.

And if that doesn't make sense, think about this.

When you have one problem and solve it, another problem emerges from that event.

Do this several times and a string of problems emerges, that STRING is the Complication.

Make sense?

What is Diversion?

There are times when the Heroine cannot deal with another complication.

There are times when the Story's too LOUD, whether with action, drama, revelation, or reveal.

After such antics, the story requires quiet time, some massage time, some intimate time.

In these times, a story requires a diversion from the Complication(s).

That's when you use a Diversion in your Story Design.

There are many types of Diversions:

  • Sub-Plot Scene
  • Decision Scene
  • Connection Scene
  • Erotic Scene
  • Kissing the Love Interest Scene
  • Reflection Scene
  • Plan the Attack Scene
  • Apotheosis
  • Reasoning Scene
  • Enlightenment Scene
  • Revelation Scene

NOTE: A Diversion doesn't stop your Story from moving forward, it's simply a Diversion. And like Complications, diversions build in intensity and usually, what you thought meant nothing becomes EVERYTHING.


When you work on a Character-Driven Scene or Sequence, you focus on the Character's POV.

And you ask the right questions.

  • Is this a complication for your character?
  • Is this a diversion for your character?


When you work on a Character-Driven Scene or Sequence, you focus on the Story ALONE.

And you ask the right questions.

  • Is this a complication for your Story?
  • Is this a diversion for your Story?

NOTE: The irony of this is that eventually, you're going to have to take this event(s) and link them to a character, why not do that from the beginning and skip this step entirely?


A Complication and a Diversion have common characteristics.

They both are progressive in nature and they build over time.

Your mastery in using them allows you to change the pacing of your Story Design.

The key advice is you must understand the essential nature of these power tools.

Complication and Diversion are events and therefore, they are ABSTRACT items.

They don't mean anything until you put them in your story, either in a Sequence or Scene.

Once you put them in the right container, the event has meaning to one character or more characters.

When you put them in the right order, the character has a Revelation or the story has a reveal.

NOTE: Revelation relates to a character or the audience, but a Reveal relates to the Story, the Plot, or a Series (if applicable).

When you organize their order using the Grand Metaphor or the Moral Premise, the characters experience enlightenment and your story has resonance.

Not bad for two terms that I thought were trivial when I first met them.

Wow, did they grow on me or am I having a Revelation?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.