In between partying at the RWA NQ Roadshow and finishing off the first draft of ‘Burning Lies’ I’ve been judging a few contest entries. One of the common issues I see is conflict that doesn’t last the distance. I’m finding conflict that could (and should) be easily resolved. The conflicts aren’t bone deep, soul deep, life-changing. For good tension in a story conflict needs to be all of the above.
So what’s not sustainable conflict? (With a little help from Zeus.)
Conflict should not be something that could be resolved over a cup of tea. If it’s a squabble over a difference of opinions then it’s nothing more than that. There needs to be more depth. There needs to be a goal and a motivation that throws up a conflict.
Equally, conflict is not a tiff between friends, a lover’s spat, a misunderstanding. That would be a lack of communication and would lessen our hero and heroines appeal…
Make your conflict life-changing. Make it important to your characters. And when you think you’ve nailed it, ramp it up another level, increase the stakes, up the ante and make us care about how your characters will weather their conflict.