I call it the Oh Well factor. When a problem arises and no solution is all wrong or all right. Or in other words, the outcome sucks both ways. Later I’ll give you an example to illustrate this.
Your characters should face the occasional no-win scenario, their Kobayoshi Maru*. That no choice is perfect. No light shining from above saying, ‘Well done’. Or that a Pit of Despair complete with ROUS* awaits them.
Do your characters face challenges that cannot be resolved?
It can demonstrate your MCs turning point, that exact moment when life will never be the same.
Submit a 500-word excerpt and we’ll roll up our sleeves and look it over.
Now for my real-life example of Oh Well in action:
I have inside cats. They get hairballs. But over time, I’ve trained all but one to leave their little presents in one room.
One isn’t grasping the concept. He continues, er, blowing his cookies somewhere other than this particular room.
My Oh Well came the day I heard that sound (never mind) that indicated Vesuvius was about to blow.
I was happy to see him doing it in the correct room.
Not so much when I realized he was doing it in my jogging shoe.
So what do I do? Yell at him and ruin weeks of training? Or praise him and clean the shoe.
I cleaned the shoe. I might throw it away.
Send a scene of conflict that has no right or wrong outcome.
*Rodents Of Unusual Size—The Princess Bride