Dec 17, 2017

The Write-A-Story Calendar Day 17: Feeling Conflicted

You're probably getting close to the midpoint of your story, congratulations! This might be a good time to go over what you've got so far and think a bit about conflict. Every story needs conflict, be it external or internal, preferably both. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you have your main conflict figured out? Is it powerful enough? How does the main character resolve it? Is the solution interesting and unexpected?
  • What about internal conflict? Does it work with the story's external conflict on a thematic level? Is resolving the protagonist's internal conflict key in solving the external conflict?
  • Are your scenes structured properly? Scene is composed of goal->conflict->disaster, the following sequel of reaction->dilemma->decision. Basically this is all about action->reaction. Watch out for displaying the reaction before the action that causes it, both on a micro (sentence) and the macro (scene) level. Here's K. M. Weiland's excellent post about scene structure if you want to read more
  • Is your protagonist getting off too easy, just sailing through the story and clearing every obstacle with ease? You probably need more disasters. Basically, nothing should go smoothly for the poor protagonist: even if she by some miracle accomplishes her scene goal, she should be in more trouble because of it (the yes, but -approach)
  • Is there a personal, emotional component to the conflict? Maybe add one?
  • Think about the story's climax: in what order will the conflicts be resolved? Are you going from minor to major and impersonal to personal?
In today's 350 words, write a scene that's structured properly and enjoy the results.

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