Sunday, August 01, 2010

CONFLICT - Anne McAllister

Another quote on Conflict from another of my fabourite authors - Anne McAllister :

What I would say, I guess, is that the conflict has to exist on at least two if not three levels in a romance.

There can be external imposed conflict from outside -- like the family or father who objects to a marriage. External conflict is more important in other kinds of fiction than it is in romance. Sometimes in other kinds of fiction -- mysteries, thrillers -- it carries much of the story. In romance it may be a starting point, but it won't carry a relationship story because it comes from outside the characters and isn't strong enough to support that kind of story.

The second level, which every romance has, is conflict between the two main characters. They are in conflict with each other for one reason or another. My friend, writer Maddy Hunter, says that the best of this sort of conflict is when what one character wants the most, the other character fears the most. That is always something I keep in mind when I'm writing.

The third level supports and integrates with the second. It is the conflict within the character him or herself. In this case what the character himself discovers that he wants is what he fears. To have to battle not only the heroine, but also his own fears, makes for more compelling and urgent fiction. It also provides room for growth and, ultimately, a satisfying resolution.
Now, that said, of course, it's all in the execution!


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