Friday, July 30, 2010

CONFLICT - Julie Cohen

I'm going to pause for a moment from my personal opinions on Conflict because as I've always said there are no rules.

And equally there isn't only one opinion on any subject for writing.

So when I was planning my talk on Conflict for the RNA, I asked some friends to give me quotes on conflict. I put these on handout for the people at the workshop, and with the permission of the authors I've quoted, I'm posting them here as well for you to see and get the benefit of their expertise.
First, is Julie Cohen:

The heroine's main inner conflict will affect her career, her family, her friendships, her behaviour, her way of dressing, her speech patterns, her reputation, her favourite cuddly toy—in short, everything about this character will be determined, in some way, by her inner conflict, even if this particular aspect might seem contradictory.

Inner conflict doesn't grow out of plot. It's the other way round—plot grows out of the main characters' inner conflict. You can have your chase scenes and your kidnappings and your great one-liners and your brilliant wonderful sex, but if they don't speak directly to your main character's inner feelings, there's no point to them.

Conflict grows and changes as your character grows and changes. Although the seeds of the problem should be right there on page 1, by the end of the book, the heroine shouldn't be solving exactly the same problem as she faced on page 1. It should be related to her initial problem, but it should be deeper, more complex, developed by the events of the middle.

A very wise author (called ahem—Kate Walker) told me once, "Don't be afraid to put conflict on the page." Make the conflict the centre of your story. Don't hold back.



Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Blimey, you two ladies are good! Excellent stuff.


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

That's why I'm such a Presents fan.....the conflict and Kate's a "Master" at it!

Caroline said...

Just popping in to say that I've found your blogs on "conflict" very helpful. Thanks Kate. Caroline x


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