Bringing Believable Conflict to Your Fiction
by Joanne Troppello
How is the conflict meter in your writing? Do you have too much conflict or not enough? How do you find the balance of just the right amount to create believable tension in your story? I was not always the best writer when it came to inserting conflict into my manuscripts. My initial stories often fell flat because although I had a good story line, I did not have the right mixture of plot plus conflict.
The good thing about bringing conflict to your story is that there is no specific right or wrong way to actually get it into your story. You just need to figure out how much is the perfect amount for your story. There are hundreds of thousands of books published every year by a variety of authors and the thing that is so unique about the situation is that every author is distinctive. Don’t copy someone else or try to model your writing after another author. Of course, you want to model your work after correct grammar and good writing skills, but to bring a believable and enjoyable story to the reader, you need to find your own inner voice.
Writing a story without conflict is pointless. The reader wants to be pulled into the story to fully embrace the protagonist’s conflict and feel his/her pain as the conflict unfolds and the character pulls through it to the end—as a new person, changed, and renewed in some way.
When we think of conflict what comes to mind? Usually we think about a fight or a war; or a sharp disagreement or emotional disturbance. We need to bring this conflict into our story but make sure the right type of conflict fits the genre of story we are writing about.
For example, if you are writing a romance, you’re not going to have a conflict that involves fighting and war. Your conflict will be emotional and between the two main characters. There will be a push and pull of this conflict throughout this story and it needs to be resolved at the end, not before.
If your genre is mystery, the conflict is the mysterious aspect of the story. There was a crime or murder and it needs to be solved by the end of the story. There are different types of mystery novels like cozies, detective, police procedural, thriller, and amateur detective etc. You need to figure out which specific genre you want to focus on and then go to town with creating and solving that conflict.
Of course, an emotional conflict can still exist in mystery novels but it is not necessarily the main conflict as it would be in a romance or a drama.
As a writer, do you find it difficult to create tension in your novels with the perfect conflict? How do you come up with the conflicts you weave into your stories? As a reader, what is one of the best books you’ve read that had a very well-written conflict and really drew you into the story?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Pandora's Box Gazette.
She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, internet and media, travel and lifestyle, website content, app recommendations, and content for blogs.