Thursday, January 6, 2011

Writer's Tip

WRITER'S TIP from Bootcamp for Novelists

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict

Novels usually begin with an immediate initial problem which keeps the reader turning pages until the core conflict develops. How well a conflict builds depends on the inescapability of the struggle. Early conflicts are rarely strong enough to carry a full book, but as the characters get to know each other, new obstacles and deeper conflicts arise.

For a strong conflict to exist, you first need a concrete, specific goal. The goal must be crucial to your protagonists' belief in himself as a human being. It may be all in his mind, but he absolutely must believe it and that he will be destroyed emotionally, psychologically or physically if he doesn't achieve it.

In classic novel structure, stories will have both an external and an internal conflict. The internal (core) conflict is the one that carries the emotional impact. That's because the core conflict is related to the characters' deep-seated values, beliefs and fears - issues such as fear of commitment, abandonment, failure of past relationships. Core conflicts are internal and emotional in nature and must contain the emotional depth to sustain the book.

In a romance novel, the core conflict is the barrier that prevents the hero and heroine from falling in love and it must be resolved before they can have a successful relationship. In any novel, a core conflict should take the protagonists' deepest fear, twist it around and make it the worst it can be. A simple example might be: If your heroine fears abandonment, make sure the hero is in a high-risk job which may mean his life is in danger more often than most.

If you take care to know everything about your hero and heroine, especially their values and beliefs, you won't be tempted to twist them to fit the plot. Your characters will show you how they'll react in each and every situation. If you do this, the conflict will be real, the plot will work and the story will be successful.

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