There are many ways to create conflict in romance, but the two simplest approaches are the lovers-against-an-outside antagonist (the easy way) and the lovers-as-antagonists (the hard way). Continue reading
The key to a great conflict is that neither the protagonist nor the antagonist can resign from the action. They must keep fighting each other to the bitter end because they need their goals and because they cannot escape each other’s actions. One way to analyze the strength of your story conflict is with a conflict box.
A conflict box is a table with six cells, one cell each for goal, action, and conflict for both the protagonist and the antagonist. Continue reading
Motivation is the reason a character chases after a goal. If the short form of “goal” is “I want,” then the short form of motivation is “because I need.”
The three most common forms of motivation are: Continue reading
A goal is the concrete, specific, positive thing the protagonist is trying to get.
A goal can be anything: getting the girl, making a cup of tea, defusing a nuclear device, whatever. What’s important is
• how clear the goal is
• how the pursuit of the goal drives the plot
• how the goal shapes and defines the protagonist’s character. Continue reading
One of the most common causes of weak or sludgy plots is the confusion of internal conflict with external conflict.
Writers who focus on character love sittin’ and thinkin’ scenes where protagonists look out windows and contemplate their pasts or ponder the meaning of reality, the battle raging within them over conflicting needs and values. That’s internal conflict. Continue reading
The two most important characters in your book are your protagonist and your antagonist because they’re the characters in conflict.
“Agon” in classical Greek means “struggle.”
A Prot-agon-ist is somebody who is first in the struggle, who owns the conflict and pushes it forward, defining it by pursuing a goal. Continue reading
A lot of stories have slow starts because their writers confuse trouble with conflict.
Trouble is what happens to all of us, usually daily. Things go wrong, we make mistakes, others screw up and we have to clean it up. Trouble is part of life.
Conflict is a struggle between two people who both want goals and who are blocking each other. Conflict is a battle, a war. Conflict escalates because both sides push back. Conflict is a specific struggle between two people, the escalating action of which moves the story forward. Continue reading