Saturday, April 16, 2011
WHAT DRIVES YOUR BOOK?
Conflict. You've got to have conflict. I'm not talking about your garden variety arguing, bickering or fighting. That's not the kind. I'm talking about floods, deaths, commitments, fears, love, ambition. The list goes on. Without conflict life might be easier, but it certainly wouldn't be as interesting.
Obviously, conflict motivates your characters as well. They have to have a plan of action but then something gets in their way. The important part to remember is that life doesn't just happen. Head your characters in a direction and then throw a bucket of water at them.
There are three main types of conflict you can toss at your characters: circumstantial, personal and relationship conflict. Let's discuss each one:
1. CIRCUMSTANTIAL. What circumstances are your characters going to have to face? Are you going to fling them into the path of a hurricane? Involve them in a car wreck? Maybe their circumstances are of a personal nature. Maybe a grandfather dies and leaves his granddaughter the family farm but not without conditions.These circumstances must disrupt the lives of your characters.
2. PERSONAL. Who doesn't have personal problems? Your characters should too. You should know your characters inside and out - their actions, emotions, dreams, past experiences, fears, likes and dislikes. You might not use every detail in the book, but we are, after all, what we've experienced in our lives.
3. RELATIONSHIP. Is there a person on this planet that doesn't have issues with at least one other person? Give your characters that kind of conflict as well. Whether it is a mean villain or the next-door neighbor, there is always going to be human conflict. In a romance there has to be a conflict of relationship between the hero and heroine that keeps them from getting together. Relationship conflict doesn't just happen in romances. It separates families, friends, business partners, and even countries.
So there you have it. Conflict. Those are pretty complicated webs your characters are weaving, but what a fantastic story it will be. Remember with each scene you write, you need to include at least one type of conflict that will advance the story along the plot line.
Cindy A. Christiansen
Fly into a good book!