Tuesday, May 24, 2011
What No One Tells You - Part 1 - Conflict is The "Easy Button"
CONFLICT IS THE EASY BUTTON!
If your plot isn't working, or you don't know where to take your character next, or you consistently struggle with writer's block, chances are, your conflict is mushy.
How to strengthen your conflict:
Conflict Should be Primal: What is at stake should matter on a deep level to both your main character and the reader = family, love, power, intergalactic annihilation. If you're struggling (especially with plot), your conflict may not be primal enough.
Conflict Should Frustrate What Your Main Character Wants Most: Is your MC a doctor who wants to cure the disease killing his mother? Frustrate him with people, funding, world events or another bigger, more deadly disease that not only attacks his family, but the entire world.
Ramp It Up: Once your main conflict is in place, add scope (like going from effecting one person to an entire society) or complexity (Your MC learns that the villain is not only entirely unbeatable, but he's his F-A-T-H-E-R *insert Darth Vader voice here*).
Use Your World: Are there elements unique to your fictional world that can introduce relevant and fresh conflict? = societal rules, flora, fauna, people, laws, natural disaster, etc.
Once you have a rocking conflict, I PROMISE, the writing comes easier, faster, smoother. Stephenie Meyer said, "Once you have the characters and the conflict, the book pretty much writes itself." Yes, she's exaggerating, but the principle is true.
So if you don't know where to start, or you're stuck - push the button.