Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Conflict--The Good Fight

A popular post from March 2008

by Heather Moore

Before reading Jack Bickham’s book The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, I assumed that conflict in a novel was anything that stopped the character on his or her path. Anything that went wrong, anything that “conflicted” basically.

According to Bickham, conflict is simply defined as “a struggle between story people with opposing goals.” (25)

Conflict is NOT, he says, “bad luck or adversity. It isn’t fate.” Yes, these may play a part in your book too, but your character doesn’t try to reason with it or confront it.

“Conflict . . . is a fight with another person.” Not necessarily a physical fight, but a fight at some level.

Bickham recommends the following to bring true conflict into your story (26):
1. Make sure two characters are involved.
2. Give them opposing goals.
3. Put them onstage now.
4. Make sure both are motivated to struggle against each other now.

1 comment:

KATE EVANS said...

Conflict can also be internal.

I also think of moving a story forward as a process of connection/ disconnection (Janet Burroway writes about this in her book Writing Fiction). After there's been some connection between two characters, then some disconnection will amp-up the tension--and vice-versa.