April 15, 2010

Tightening Conflict: Lesson 5

To read my thoughts on all the How to Revise Your Novel lessons, click here.

Lesson 5 is all about Tightening Conflict. Boy, did I need this. I have a lot of conflict in my book. Mostly because it's been beaten into my head a few times that EVERY SCENE NEEDS CONFLICT! Yes, every scene. So I thought I had this lesson in the bag.

Um, no.

Conflict has to matter. The stakes have to be high. We've all heard this before, but Lesson 5 made me face the fact that... well... apparently I've been ignoring that advice. Some of my conflict is a verbal disagreement. (Exciting, right?)

Um, no.

So I marked 21 scenes that need some serious help. Fortunately, Holly gave some great tools for how to ratchet up the level of conflict. Things like taking the conflict to a different location, one that has mare risk. I'm considering using this in one of my early scenes. My MC wants to talk to this ghost, so she tells her friend to go on ahead to school while she skips class. So the hero and heroine have a nice, uninterrupted (boring) conversation off-campus.

BUT what if I took it to the school and she's trying to sneak around, trying to find a place to talk to this guy without getting detention?

(And--just a thought here--what if she fails and gets detention? There's a whole scene of potential conflict in there. Trust me, it's there.) I could have my heroine get in serious trouble for skipping. That could increase conflict.

The possibilities are endless, as always. That's what makes it hard.

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