Friday, April 3, 2015
A to Z Challenge: C is for Conflict
Welcome to April. With its customary showers comes the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar with it:
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. (Source)
The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE
My theme this year is EDITING.
I'll be posting practical advice for editing any story, novel, or other piece of writing. Editing is something most authors struggle with, and after years of doing my own as well as that of others, I have a pretty good eye for what needs work. I'll be doing short posts on editing topics and (hopefully) dispensing simple, valuable advice to help everyone out there self-edit.
C is for Conflict!So how do you edit conflict, you ask?
By asking questions. One thing my writing group is fantastic about is making sure that every chapter I give them has enough conflict in it. I always think my chapters serve a purpose, of course, but sometimes I don't put enough of the conflict the character is experiencing in a particular scene the first time through. When I edit, I have to go back through and make sure that the reader can feel the conflict in every scene.
So follow these steps to edit conflict:
1) Ask yourself, what is conflict for this chapter? Man vs. man/nature/himself/etc. Figure out what it is for every character in the scene.
2) What are OODs for each character? OOD stands for Object of Desire. Each character should have a literal OOD (something they are actually trying to gain/accomplish such as throwing the One Ring into Mordor's fires, locating the chamber of secrets, winning a crush's heart, etc.) and a figurative OOD (world peace, happiness, power/wealth, etc). For more on OODs, see this post.
4) Ask how you can enhance the conflict. How can you make it more human, more compelling, more heart pounding? For example, if the conflict in your scene is all presented internally, through thought, could you change the scene so that it came out as a conversation or even altercation between two characters? Can you up the stakes, show more raw emotion from the character, throw in some action get more adrenaline into the conflict?
If you can ask and answer these questions, and improve your scene accordingly, you will have edited the conflict in your story so that it grips your reader and doesn't let go.
How do you convey conflict in your writing?