Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Quick take: Conflict = Test

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Apr• 18•14

despairWhile conflict is the basis for fiction, a plot builds by adding on complications, surprises, and developments that add more tension and forward motion. Plots are not drawn as a straight line; instead there are zigzags, dead ends, sidetracks and crooked paths. Each of these elements adds more obstacles, more decisions to be made, paths to be chosen. At each turn, chaos, disorder, arguments, struggles, bewilderment, dilemmas should result.

To keep a story simmering, remember this: All types of conflict in a story must be some sort of test. Force a character to make tough choices that he or she would rather ignore. Make the choices and problems linked to his or her emotional core. Give the character dilemmas that clash with his beliefs and values.


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