Friday, July 23, 2010

Conflict Q&A 4 - Internal Conflict

The second - and much the most important form of conflict is INTERNAL CONFLICT


INTERNAL CONFLICT is the characters’ own problems, their personality traits, fears, doubts, beliefs, which they have to change or overcome to get their happy-ever-after.

Internal conflict is also called CHARACTER ARC.

INTERNAL conflict is a person’s INTERNAL struggle over opposing goals. It is inside, hidden from witnesses

INTERNAL CONFLICT comes from the characters themselves; it’s whatever they bring to the story, both emotionally and intellectually.
An emotional conflict is one that grows from feelings.

EMOTIONAL conflict is always internal.
The EMOTIONAL CONFLICT needs to affect the hero and the heroine’s relationship, so that they are irresistibly drawn to each other while simultaneously feeling that a relationship can’t possibly work between them

Emotions don’t have a logical basis and they can’t be reasoned away – they ARE

( Lesley Wainger)
INTERNAL is PERSONAL in that it grows from innate issues and insecurities everyone has. You carry them around with you. They touch you on the deepest and most personal levels

- the meat of the story
- The real issues that keep the characters apart after external problems have been solved
- Misplaced guilt, fear of rejection, pride, lack of self-esteem – internal problems
- Often the characters are unaware of their internal conflicts so these are the last ones to be resolved.
- Think of conflict (particularly internal) as like an onion – peel away the outer layers(External conflicts) , more and more until you get to the heart – the internal conflicts - and then go deeper till you find the REAL problem.

- The soft core is the part of character hidden away – because protected - because most vulnerable, deepest feeelings are carefully hidden except from those we trust the most
Characters must have both internal conflict and external conflict

External conflict makes the internal conflict worse
Internal conflict makes the external conflict worse
Think about Romeo and Juliet - the family feud (external conflict) had been dragging along for a long time before R & J actually met.
It was when they met and fell head over heels for each other that everything changed - and the internal conflict took hold -
The feud now kept them from declaring their love
It forced them apart
At first Romeo tried to avoid the brawls in the street etc - but
When Romeo became involved in a duel with Juliet's cousin and killed him then the whole story turned into a tragedy.
Juliet was torn between loving him and hating him for killing Tybalt
All of these are the internal conflict that makes the external conflict so much worse
And then the Duke banishes Romeo (external) Which makes it even worse
And Juliet's father insists she marry someone else . . .
And the whole thing snowballs out of control - which leads the two lovers to their terrible lowest possible point - their Black Moment.
Of course with R&J it ended in tragedy so there was no Happy Ever After Ending. But this is the point you want to bring your reader to - the one where they reall feel there is no chance of a HEA, until . . .

But we'll come to that later.


Caroline said...

Excellent post Kate - thanks. Caroline x

susanwilson44 said...

Thank you Kate - a real idiot's guide! Just what I needed x


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