Conflict (a.k.a. Moving Things Along)


I don’t like conflict. No conflict = peaceful life.

There are so many ways I avoid conflict:

1. I stay away from people who invite drama into their life.

2. I agree with people to avoid a fight.

3. I pick my battles with my children and husband.

4. I don’t look in the mirror before I scarf down the last donut.

I am on Day 11 of the 90 Day process (I know I should be farther). This day has me writing down all the conflict in my novel. While no conflict in my life = a blissful Amy, no conflict in book = comatose reader. Or even worse, no reader.

So this got me to thinking, how much conflict is too much conflict? My first instinct was to write down all of the disagreements and fights in my plot, because there is plenty of opportunity for conflict.

There should be conflict in every scene, but obvious conflict in every scene is too much, because my character would end up in the loonybin or I would be emotionally exhausted after every scene. There needs to be a balance that still moves the story along. That is where subtle conflict comes into play.

Subtle conflict will sustain your novel between the drag out fights.

For example:

Obvious conflict: I just ran into my best friend’s husband cheating on her with another woman and now I am confronting him.

Subtle conflict: I just found my first gray hair. When did I start getting so old?

Of course, depending on your character, finding a gray hair might be a bigger conflict than seeing the husband of her best friend cheating. Either way, we learn more about the character and the story is moved along.

So, if your character doesn’t act or react to things, not only will you be bored, but so will your reader.


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