How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propel the story forward?
You know, the first thing that came to mind when I read this question was something I learned from someone in this chain a while back (and I apologize because I can't remember for the life of me who brought this up, but it turned into an awesome discussion - I am pretty sure it was in the chain about the mean things we do to our characters :D ).
Anyways, the thing I took away from that discussion that I try to use as I write my stories in order to create drama and tension is - whatever your character wants, say no.
I think that simple phrase is incredible. SAY NO!
They have a dream, a goal, a desire, a need? Take it away. Play hard to get. Make them work for it. Make them suffer. Make them grow and stretch themselves. Challenge them. Don't give in. Don't make it easy. SAY NO!!!!
If you do this, then the journey toward the end of the story is full of drama and tension. If everything is easy for your character, just handed to them, there isn't any drama in the story. This is something I sometimes struggle with, especially in my lastest book (we won't go there - that one is sitting for a while so I can play with something new for NaNo :D ) But it is something I try to do in all my stories.
Just say no. Simple. Sweet. Drama inducing. Tension maker. Just say no.