Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Conflict

The heart of every story is conflict. In fact, without conflict there isn't a story/plot. I'd even go so far as to say conflict is key in a story or novel.

To be clear, conflict does not have to be a physical battle. Conflict does not even have to involve an antagonist. I had a critique partner who sometimes seemed to lose sight of this.

Recall, there are really very few kinds of stories:
  • (wo)man versus (wo)man
  • (wo)man versus nature
  • (wo)man versus self

What do all these plots have in common? Versus, i.e. conflict. (Okay, they also have (wo)man but I'll come back to that later in the month.) So, go ahead, torture your darlings! Make your characters suffer. Give your writing conflict.

Les Edgerton has a very nice blog post on this subject: Creating Tension

I should also mention C is for contest. My colleagues over at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers have opened up their annual contest for entries of fiction novels. There are six categories: Action/Thriller, Mainstream, Mystery, Romance, and Speculative Fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) and YA (all subgenres). This is a good contest, run by good writerly folks, and has led to some book contracts.

Good luck!


  1. good post. it took me awhile to get conflict - guess it was that hippy past of mine but now I load on the problems for my protagonists and they don't let me down - they rise to the challenge or falter but they almost always grow some.
    Jan Morrison

  2. Excellent. I love writing a good conflict.

  3. Conflict...both inner and outer conflict :D

  4. Awesome post about conflict, something I like a lot. And thanks for the info on the contest, I'll have to check it out.

  5. Right on! Conflict keeps a story going and a reader engaged guessing what'll happen next. I've successfully mixed internal and external conflict plots in my recent novels and loved the result. Most importantly, so have my readers!! Lizzy Ford

  6. Torture your true. It makes us love them even more.