Real life is unpredictable, but well-crafted fiction has to make sense. An author not only creates a story and its characters, he also creates the journey those characters travel through his story. If that takes them down a bumpy road pitted with potholes, he has to know where, why and when those bumps and holes appear and how big they can become, even when they start as little cracks small enough to go unnoticed.

Here's one: A mason loses his job because of a canceled wedding and has to look for work. Here's another: A nobleman's daughter refuses to marry someone she can't love. Here's a third: An impressionable girl finds the survivor of a shipwreck and bears him a son.

Each one of those cracks grows, splitting and expanding into chasms able to engulf people we care about, whichever way they turn—obstacles that even love and courage might not surmount. The rougher their road, the more steadfast fictional lovers must be as, inevitably, the author sets yet another complication in their way. But the more challenges they face and conquer, the more the audience cheers and supports them. And when our lovers reach their final destination, be it wealth and glory or just hearth and home, and the music swells or the book closes, that audience sits back in satisfaction, exhausted, exhilarated and glad to have shared that journey. And who knows? They might well do it again!

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