Sunday, November 23, 2014

on conflict

Although I hope to someday help people with their battles (internal, external, or both), I struggle with establishing conflict in my writing. I forget that at the core, it's about wanting something and the threat of that desire being taken away.

Over the past few years, I've learned that it's difficult to dislike someone once I understand his or her internal conflicts. Each person has a collection of struggles that may not always be visible.

 I've been reading about the nature of conflict, whether it's in regards to man vs. self or man vs. others, and found this insightful gem: 

"Don’t leave your hero alone very long. Have at least two characters on stage whenever possible and let the conflict spark between them. There can be conflict with nature and your hero can struggle against storm or flood, but use discretion. … You could write a gripping story about a struggle between a lone trapper and a huge, clever wolf. But the wolf is practically humanized in such a story and fills every role of villain. The wolf too wants something and does something about it. A storm doesn’t want anything and that’s why its conflict with man is generally unsatisfactory. It doesn’t produce the rivalry which is the basis of good conflict."

~Samuel Mines


  1. I guess I've written it wrong on more than one occasion then...

    1. No, I'm sure you haven't! I don't think any "rules" are ever set in stone and it takes a lot of skill to not follow them and still accomplish a sense of conflict. Your talent is VERY apparent in your character development, plot, and conflict.

  2. Interesting perspective and good ideas.