EVERYTHING WAS just fine for your protagonist. They were living a normal life. It wasn’t a great life by any means, but at least nothing bad lurked on the horizon.
Or maybe that’s wrong. Maybe your protagonist was doomed if they continued sitting around, not taking charge of their life. Or maybe an imminent threat loomed and they had no choice.
In any case, you, the author, came along with your call to adventure and changed everything. Now there’s no going back. Your protagonist is on a journey whether they want to be or not, and before they even have a chance to succeed, you can almost be certain of one thing:
Halfway through the journey, they’ll hit the lowest point they’ve ever experienced.
I’m talking about rock bottom. A state of sheer hopelessness. Like Christ in the tomb before the resurrection, or the man in black being tortured underground in The Princess Bride, or Wilson floating away from a sobbing Tom Hanks who sits adrift at sea in Castaway, or Andy Dufresne’s time in the hole in The Shawshank Redemption.
Not all story structures are the same. Not all characters experience this low point in the middle of the story, but if you’re working on a first draft and you’re struggling to cross that halfway point, just think of all the ways you can derail your protagonist’s path. Think of all the ways things can go wrong.
Crucify them. Torture them. Make them experience loss. Make them sit in the dark, alone, hungry, and fighting off hungrier rats.
Just a thought. An evil, evil though.