Thursday, July 29, 2010


I said yesterday that goals, particularly goals that oppose each other can generate intense conflict,
Here are some possible GOALS that either of your characters might aspire to:

Romantic love
Internal – We form strong emotional bonds which makes us vulnerable
- we fear being hurt, not being lovable enough

- External – differences between your h&H affect their goal of emotional love. How they show their feelings which causes pain and anger to the other

Keeping or winning possessions
- house
- car
- job
- business
- heirloom
Internal – character worries about getting or keeping the desired possession
External – Character A makes it difficult for B to get it or threatens to take it – so B must fight or retreat

Keeping secrets
Internal – struggle between the moral desire for truthfulness and fear of consequences of revealing secret
External - Character A knows Character B’s secret or does something that B fears will reveal secret. The more drastic the consequences of exposure, the harder the struggle

Gaining achievement

Inner conflict – our sense of self-worth is tied up in our ability to achieve goals.

External – when people around interfere with those goals, block them, deride them


Internal - territory is our home, children our self-respect, our money. We worry about what we’ll do is someone takes it
External – when territory is attacked or we defend it against real or imagined invasions
Two people with incompatible territory will always experience conflict.

Your characters’ goals must be very clear so that it will be clear to the reader when those goals are thwarted

And they should pose a SERIOUS THREAT – physical or emotional. The more it seems that one character's goal will destroy/ruin/make impossible the other character's equally important goal, the more the resulting tension will create an internal and emotional conflict that comes between them

Conflicts can be small or huge – ideally a mix of both .

What matters is not how huge a goal is but how important it is to your character. If the 'possession' your character desperately wants to get hold of is tiny, perhaps valueless to anyone else, but vital emotionally and personally to them then it ill be a huge driving force out of all proportion to its size or financial vaule.
Because, as with everything else in a romance,with conflict you must always begin and end with the CHARACTERS.

And the conflict should force your characters to MAKE DECISIONS and TAKE DECISIVE ACTION
(c) Kate Walker 2010

1 comment:

Lacey Devlin said...

Great post Kate thank you!


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