Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Conflict with Conflicts

I'm in the middle of a romance writing revolution. Yes. It's true. I am studying what makes a sustainable conflict, so I can (hopefully) build a better story. I didn't realize there were so many articles out there until I printed up about twelve of them for the craft binder I keep beside my desk.

So far, I've learned that there's a difference between conflict and crisis, and that it's best to unravel the external conflict before you unravel the internal conflict. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot of articles to sort through. The thing is, every writing book, sight, article, etc. advises to make your conflict BIG, but by definition, what is big?

If your character is a spy, a politician, or lawyer, I can see how that would be easier to define. But what if your character is an average Joe seeking love and home?  What if the greatest loss for their particular situation isn't life or death, a ruined political career, or seeing an innocent man to go jail?  What if being alone is their greatest fear? What if they fear they will never meet Mr. Right?  That kind of conflict isn't going to have the same big type of conflict as a thriller, and this is exactly what I'm trying to sort out.

I'm currently reading Debra Dixon's GMC, and trying to sort out all my questions I have about the subject. I mean, I recognize a conflict when I see it, but how do you build it to fit your story?  That is my current quest. To take the conflict out of building a conflict. I sense this isn't going to be easy, so I guess it's a good thing I'm determined.


  1. First of all- OMG that icon is <3

    Secondly, I hear you about conflict. My stories are often riddled with inner conflict that doesn't match the urgency of the outer conflict, and so I tend to have to build up the outer, but to do that in a realistic, not easily handled way is really hard, especially when you're not talking end of the world stakes or anything. *hugs* Either way, I know you'll find what you need!

  2. I think what it boils down to is tension. In a romance, the big stakes are just as potent for the hero and heroine as some thriller.

    It's more personal, but that doesn't mean it's less, or somehow not as big, at least to them...and you as their creator.

    Imaging being alone, no husband, no boyfriend, no kids, no parents, everyone you ever loved is gone and you are left with nothing but the faded memories. Sitting in an empty house, no job, no co-workers even that you get pissed at. It's an existence just shy of hell. That is what your characters can look forward to if you cannot help them find each other and fall in love.

    It can be pretty grim. There is no time to waste, they are counting on you! :)

  3. ((hugs)) Isy, thank you. Yes, I think I found what I needed. And...isn't that icon cute?! I love the colors. :D

  4. I agree, Cass. I've been doing a lot of research, trying more or less to grasp external conflicts and how to build them to fit the situation. Whew! What a doozy...


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