Friday, August 19, 2011

More Thoughts On Conflict

Earlier this month I posted a list of possible conflicts, as assembled by Chuck Wendig. Now, Scott Eagan also has some advice on conflict, the - as he calls it - most frequently screwed up story element.

Apparently, what agents and editors see most to mess up the conflict, are three scenarios:

1) The conflict is too easy .
I've frequently started new projects, only to find out that there isn't much meat to the conflict. This isn't only boring for a reader, but also for me as the writer. Where no conflict, there no interest. I usually break these off pretty early on.

2) The conflict is impossible (works only for James Bond ;-D).
I've also managed to write myself into a corner and couldn't come up with a solution that wasn't deus-ex-machina type or needed some drastic actions from my characters that wouldn't have fit either them or the story. When that happens, I go back to the key point where the impossibility is introduced, and try to fix it there. Sometimes, a lot of revision is necessary. Some such projects I haven't finished because it'd be too much effort.

3) The conflict would never happen.

I don't think I've fallen victim to this scenario yet. But I definitely recognize the other two, and voilá - Revelation of the Day.


  1. I've read stories with all of those conflicts but the first two are, I find, most predominant. I just read one this week that lacked conflict; there was some tension but it was so mild as to be non-existent. It was an enjoyable read but definitely could have used more conflict.

  2. Yes, I've read some that don't have all that much conflict, and enjoyed them well enough. I do find, though, that I don't tend to remember them. I'll pick them up several years later and not know what the story was about anymore. :-)