Sunday, July 11, 2010

Conflict Breakthrough

As I've mentioned before I am currently in the process of working with my fantasy novel so I can start revising soon. Before I even look at my draft I want to flesh out both the world and the characters more, which can be a daunting process. But as I was reading one of Holly Lisle's more recent e-mails her answering a question on conflict really got me thinking.  I know how conflict works in novel writing, but my thoughts after reading the e-mail gave me my own epiphany. It was almost like a cartoon light bulb moment. I saw my main character's various conflicts and how they moved the plot forward.

This got me thinking further about character choices as relating to conflict. Whatever conflict big or small a character is currently facing they can choose how to try and solve that conflict. I thought it might be fun to draw up a conflict and choices flow chart. It would be good to flesh out what the various choices could cause for the character, which of course would introduce more conflicts which would then have their own options for a character to choose. The important part in all this is understanding why my character will choose what she does and what are the stakes.

Character drives plot. One can have an interesting idea for a novel or short story, but for the writing process the plot forms around the actions the characters take while trying to overcome the conflict. With my fantasy novel I have been struggling with the level of conflict for my character which in turn has been making planning/writing this novel difficult. Now thanks to the thought process after reading Holly's message I can better see the main conflict for my character along with how it will tie in with other conflicts.

Even though this post is about conflict my breakthrough will help with the worldbuilding as well. With analyzing the various conflicts it will give me a good way to break down different facets of the world and I will be able to figure out what exactly I need to flesh out more for the world.

I am still planning on starting my character challenge series soon, sometime this week. I figure this post is related to that in a ground work sort of way. Looking at various personality traits for a character can help understand why they react a certain way to a specific conflict.

(I hope this isn't to disjointed. This post has been ruminating in my mind since my breakthrough last weekend when I took 3 pages on handwritten notes on the subject. I wanted to get this posted before today gets away from me. I want to go through some boxes around the house in preparation for some work that's going to be done. I'm aiming to avoid the last minute shuffle of stuff that inevitably leads to misplacing items).