Friday, April 8, 2022

Is Your Conflict Strong Enough

I'm working with one of my clients on her latest work in progress and it is all about the conflict this time. Surprisingly, the lack of conflict is one of the reasons I pass on projects more often than not. 

When we talk about conflict, we have to see this as being that single thing that is preventing the character from moving forward. In the case of romance writing, the biggest conflict is the reason that the hero and heroine are not going to get together. That conflict has to be significant and not easy to overcome.

Too often, writers don't have a significant conflict in their stories. What they have is a complication. I have talked about this before, but let me again explain this. A complication is often something that can be solved by a simple conversation. We see this a lot with stories where one character overhears, or misinterprets something another character said or did. How is this fixed? The characters simply needs to ask the other person. 


A conflict is one where someone is really going to have to change or give something up. This conflict should lead to that dark moment where it almost feels like there is not solution.

So, let's go back to those romances. That hero and heroine have to be in a situation where, as much as they want to be together, the forces of nature are simply not going to make it possible. Maybe it is a situation where they are working for opposing companies. A relationship might be one that would hold back that big corporate deal. Maybe they are in the same company and there is now a policy that comes down that says you cannot be in a relationship with someone else. So, does one person have to quit their job? Do they both quit? 

As you think of that conflict, you need to push those stakes as high as you can. Remember though, you never want to make the conflict so big that they cannot fix the problem. Along the same lines, don't create a conflict that gets fixed by a sudden "act of nature." In this case, maybe it is someone faced with financial difficulties. It becomes a real let down for the reader when you suddenly drop that a crazy uncle left them with a nest egg. Really? You fought tooth and nail with that character to find a solution, only to have this drop on you? Ugh!

So, your task for the weekend is to look at that conflict in your story. Is it a conflict or a complication? Is it big enough or too big?

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