I'm in the process of revising my WIP, and I thought I'd go back and look at some of my previous blog posts on the topic of revising.
I came across THIS POST about conflict in every chapter, and I considered reposting it because I found it helpful to reread the information. However, after reading the comments again on that post, I decided maybe we should discuss what CONFLICT means, instead.
To say that every chapter, every scene, every page needs to have conflict, does NOT mean it has to have a fight, an argument, a chase scene, or a high level of action. What it means is: there needs to be opposing ideas or emotions in every scene.
Ask yourself the questions from the PREVIOUS POST, but then really think: What is my character feeling at the beginning of this scene? What does she hope to accomplish? What's stopping her? And have your character struggle (internally and/or externally) to overcome those obstacles, and have the scene end with the character feeling the opposite from the beginning of the scene. This creates tension, page turning, and an exciting story.
Does every chapter of your WIP have conflict? Every scene? Every page? Do you think that's too much?
I agree it's a good idea to revisit the idea of conflict; sometimes I'm convinced a scene I've written has conflict and it doesn't! This kind of dissection of a novel is tough but so worth it.ReplyDelete
I liked your definition - opposing ideas or emotions. That definitely helps.ReplyDelete
When I get to the editing stage, I write "Conflict" and "Stakes" at the top of each chapter and then make myself define what happens re: each of them to make sure I've got enough going on.ReplyDelete
I like your questions for identifying the conflict in a scene and I also like Nicole's idea for identifying the conflict and stakes in each chapter.ReplyDelete
I reckon there should be a dictionary of writing terms to help people understand what is meant by things like this. This is a great distinction to make - conflict is not always overt or obvious.ReplyDelete
It seems there are so many key points in writing a great novel, conflict is just one in an ocean of things to do. Good luck and all the best with it!ReplyDelete
Duncan In Kuantan
I realised in my latest revisions that I really need to look at each scene on its own, separate from all the others, and analyse it that closely. I look forward to doing so.ReplyDelete