Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conflicts Should Not Be Impossibilities

I frequently get stories come across my desk with fantastic characters. The settings are great, the storytelling is wonderful, but the conflict is just awful. In other words, the challenges that the hero and heroine have to overcome are so huge, the believablity of the story is simply gone.

Like goal setting, when you create a conflict for the characters in your book, whether it is internal or external, the conflict has to be something that can be overcome through the efforts of your characters. In other words, the conflict has to be achievable. Unfortunately, I think a lot of writers out there, in an attempt to create a story that is truly unique, or amazingly exciting, have created conflicts that are impossible. In this case, bigger is not necessarily better.

It is important to remember that the thrill of the book doesn't necessarily come from the conquering of the conflict, but the excitement of the chase. We want to see that there is this huge problem out there and we as readers are unsure, like the characters, how to overcome it. As readers, we want to be part of the chase. We want to be in it with the characters trying to figure out how they will work out of the situation.

I am working with a writer right now and the project we are working on is the elimination of coincidences in the story. As I stated earlier, we want to see the characters solve the problem. I think many authors often rely on those external random acts of fate to help out with the problem. We really don't want to read, "Oh, aren't we lucky we happened to find the key to the prison that we have been trying to break into for the last chapter. Isn't it strange that the guard happened to drop it as he was passing us." Blah. That is a cheap way out. Make them go get it.

Now please understand I am not saying to make the conflicts weak. I am saying make the conflicts believable and achievable with a little hard work. Your key words today are difficult not impossible.

Have a good day. Off to the next pile.


No comments:

Post a Comment