February 18, 2011

Conflict Makes the World Go Round

A good story has conflict. That's Fiction 101. So how do you come up with juicy conflict on every single page?

That can be a difficult concept to grasp: conflict on every page. A conflict doesn't necessarily mean a fight. It can be a moral dilema or a really hard decision for one of your characters. The important thing is that (whatever the conflict is) it drives your character to act.

You want a problem or decision that makes your character DO something. Ideally, you want that action to cause more conflict. (That's the good stuff, in my opinion.)

Jason Black from Show Some Character says you can create twisty, mind-boggling, drool-inducing plots full of conflict in 3 steps to a breakout story. (Hint: the key is giving your character a good goal.)

Jane Friedman's blog, There Are No Rules, has a great resource, too. Bring the conflict closer to home. (By the way, if you haven't read Jim Adam's series on The Strengths of the Harry Potter Series, it's worth some of your time as a writer.)

Janice Hardy from The Other Side of the Story helps writers dig into their characters' pasts for good conflict. Basically, going back in your story to find the good stuff you may have unintentionally left behind. Let the Past Haunt You.

Finally, there's a neat little ebook called How To Write Page-Turning Scenes. It gives you the 5 types of conflict that keeps readers hooked and a great trick that lets you show something go wrong, and your reader knows it's gone wrong, and makes them NEED to keep reading to find out why. While it's not a free resource, it's one of the best I've found.

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