Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Conflict Vs. Complication

Have you ever read a book where you kept asking, "What is the point of this?" Maybe you keep screaming at the characters about how "obvious" this is and you want them to just "fix the problem!" In almost all of these situations, the problem is the lack of a conflict, or at least a significant conflict. These authors have only put a complication into their stories.

So, what is the difference?

A complication is easily seen in most sitcoms. I always like to use something from the 70's. Yes, I know I am dating myself on this, but it is a great example.
Three's Company was filled with nothing but complications. These are simply situations where the solution is just someone asking someone else a question and getting an answer. Think of it this way. How many times did "the problem" arise from someone overhearing a conversation and just misinterpreting the message? This is a complication.

If the reality of the situation is that the character in your book just needs to do something, then there is not conflict.

I recently read a submissions where the hero liked the heroine, but just had not told her. The heroine felt the same way and also had not told him. They both felt it would "ruin their friendship"or that the other person "did not feel the same way." This is a complication.

For a conflict to happen, we have to see that there may really be a huge loss for someone if the problem is not solved. For example, if the hero and the heroine get together in a romance, then there will be an issue with office politics and ethics. Now they have to find a way to work through this. Something is going to have to "give" to make his work. Someone may have to make a sacrifice.

Hope that helps!

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