Finding the perfect conflict. Now, that is a challenge. I usually write the first three chapters of my story, then go back and start figuring out what’s going on. That may sound weird, but it’s how I work. I know my characters, I know my ending, and I know the “Why” question regarding my novel. Or the “What if” question. But a good story isn’t going to interest the reader without obstacles, or conflict in the journey.
Which if we think about it is kind of weird as in we don’t like conflict in real life. Right? But the conflict in stories carries the plot and emotional journey of the characters we’ve created. Without conflict, well, there wouldn’t be much of a story.
In judging unpublished writing contest over the years I’ve seen what some writers think is conflict, but it’s not. One of the rules I’ve heard is “if it can be resolved with a conversation, it’s not true conflict.” I agree with that. There has to be an emotional challenge in the conflict. And as I read more and more books, the way the external and internal conflicts co-exist, makes for interesting and exciting reads.
In working on my current novel, I discovered my conflict isn’t deep enough. I don’t think it is a good foundation that will carry a whole novel. I’ve been thinking and running other scenarios and characters in my head to create more conflict. I actually think this is one of the best parts of being a writer. Creating the world that the reader will dive into is an art in itself. :)
In the book that I just finished writing and submitting, the conflict comes full circle and resolves at the end, internally and externally. The total way it happened unfolded as I wrote the story, but the basis of it I had in my mind. It was fun seeing how everything came together as the words went onto the page. The level of conflict I’m talking about here is in sweet romance stories. When you start talking suspense stories, that’s a whole other level.
So, what about you? Which conflict do you like better? Do you like the edge of your seat suspenseful type of conflict, or the more internal, emotional conflict? I’d love to hear your preferences, and if you have a recent or well-loved story that you loved the conflict in, let us know.
MaryAnn Diorio says
Thank you for your post, Lindi. You make good points.
I prefer the internal conflict of characters, but especially when that conflict is supported by the external conflict of the story. I see the two as working hand in hand, supporting each other and enhancing each other.
Blessings on your writing,
MaryAnn–Thank you! And like you, when the two go hand in hand, it flies!
I love all!! My favorite stories are marriage of convenience, since those are the ones I read during my teens and early twenties. I LOVE suspense books, too, though!! Add in that romance, and I’m a sucker for a good story!! I just finished Framed in Death Valley by Dana Mentink yesterday, and it fit your blog. The hero was framed for a murder, is let go on a technicality, and then finds out his wife is pregnant, and has been threatened. Finding out who the real killer was, if he and his wife could get back together (he had her served with divorce papers to protect her, she still hasn’t signed), is all up the air until close to the end of the book.
Trudy—Wow! That sounds like an amazing book. And I love marriage of convenience stories, too.
Alicia Haney says
Hi, I really like them both! I enjoyed reading your post. Have a great weekend and stay safe.
Alicia–thank you! I hope you had a great weekend as well.
Both, but I want which one it ahead of time in the blurb
Jcp—Yes—that is a good thing–to know what you’re reading. :)
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
Both…thank you for sharing.
Lucy—me, too! Emotionally suspenseful, right?
Mary Preston says
Both, but more of the external for me.
Mary—you sound like a suspense girl. :)
Debra Pruss says
I am not an either or person. It all depends on what mood I am in as to what kind of conflict I want to read. Thank you for sharing God bless you.
Debra—good point. :)
Amy Perrault says
I love romance with relationship problems & also teenage relationship which ends up with her pregnant & they have to work together to decide on there life together
Amy-Thanks for sharing. I love those, too!
Sylvain Perrault says
I like both
Sylvain—A lot of people are with you. :)
Natalya Lakhno says
I think there’s always several conflicts in the story. I like the edge of your seat suspenseful type of conflict, 🤓
Natalya, Subplot conflicts work well. Thanks for sharing.
I like both types of conflict, the deeply emotional ones and the ones you’d find in suspense that keep you on the edge.
I read quite a bit of Love Inspired books and they have all sorts of stories with different kind of conflicts (contemporary & suspense). I especially enjoy the suspense ones that keep you on your toes, your heart rate up, and keep you guessing who-did-it right to the end. :-)
I read a lot of Love Inspired, too. They do have great conflict–and always awesome resolutions.
Priscila Perales says
Ha, I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but I like a mix of both. :) And definitely not one where it can be solved with just one conversation.