Thursday, September 23, 2010

How About Some Conflicting Advice

Everyone knows that a good novel has to have good conflict, right? But should it be internal conflict or external? Or should it be both? And, is there such a thing as good conflict?

Have no fear--my post today will give you all the "conflicting" advice you could want.

In all seriousness, yes, every good novel (or movie, or play) needs to have some juicy conflicts going. In a literary sense, all conflict is good, and the more layers of it you can keep juggling throughout your story, the better and more compelling the book will be.

But should it be external or internal, you ask? I try to use both in every book.

Heating Things Up ...

Internal conflict can be excruciating and is strong enough to carry a well-told story; however, it never hurts to add to the internal drama by heating things up outside your protagonist, too. In other words, layer on the external problems that amount to more conflict for your character(s).

Every conflict raises a question or two that your reader desperately wants answered. Such as:

* How will this problem be solved?
* What will happen to end this conflict?
* Which will keep them reading?

Before the end of the story, your job is to go back and make sure you have answered the questions, and you do this by solving the conflicts. If a conflict ends by chapter ten, create a new one in chapter eleven....

[To read the rest of this article, please click the title. You'll be taken to the blog "A Pen For Your Thoughts," where I wrote this as a guest post. Enjoy!]

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