In revisions I found maximum impact came from knowing my protagonist and making sure all aspects of my story were interconnected.
- Every other character in the piece should have had a strong connection to the protagonist. For example, it's not enough to put a child in danger, the child should be related to the protagonist, if possible.
- The setting should be important to the protagonist. It's not enough to put the protagonist in the setting. The setting should be crucial to the protagonist--this is the place he or she has to be.
- External plot complications need to be unique to the protagonist. Think about the protag. Determine what's the worst possible thing that could happen to him/her--and then make it happen.
- External plot needs to be linked to internal character arc. In our example, perhaps the protag him/herself was in peril as a child, so he/she cannot abide kids in peril. Would your protag sacrifice him/herself for said child? Ooh, now that's dramatic.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for achieving maximum impact in fiction?
Good luck with your writing!