Hey guys! Sorry it's been awhile since I last posted on here. Been working on editing my novel as well as writing articles for Pillowfights which if you haven't heard of them, is sort of a mecca for lifestyle and relationship advice, as writers such as myself give you encouragement to face the chaos of the outside world.
Anyway here are some links you should check out.
Unleash your potential...Whatever that means!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Create your own Freedom.
Anyway, speaking of facing the outside world, conflict and environment creation is very similar to Character creation but I wanted to elaborate more on creating engaging and thought-provoking conflict within our stories. Without conflict your whole story is pointless. Your characters need to fight for something whether physical, mental and emotional, making your character more dynamic, more three-dimensional to the audience.
But sensei how do we create amazing conflict and use it in our work?
Well good question my students, first let’s deal with the actual creation. If you have been following my blog so far all the tools I use are within, but I’ll go over them once again since I’m awesome. So for me, I started with characters and used them to build my story off of, but you can start with conflict first and draw your characters from that. So if you are starting with Conflict first, use the same method I used to create Characters but Research at the same time: stories, movies, and the internet are great sources to find conflict, and weave them into your own narrative.
For example, let’s say you are writing a mystery, read the Sherlock books and watch the Sherlock TV show and the Movie - Actually screw research, just watch the Movie for Robert Downey Jr. Maybe the Sherlock stuff isn’t to your taste maybe you’re more dark and brooding as unspeakable crimes haunt the criminals like the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Or more focused on the mystery instead of the characters as you compete in a race to solve the crime before the detective does like the works of Agatha Christie.
Once you have a firm grasp of the type of conflict you want to portray, use the method I used to create Characters and develop five random facts about the type of conflict you want. So for my mystery, I want to go with the style of Edgar Allan Poe since I’m dark and brooding like a teenage Goth. Anyway, let’s start with our five random facts.
1. Set in London England during the 18th century.
I’m no history enthusiasts so I don’t know much about the 18th century so we are off to Google. So during the 18th century was the start of The Industrial Revolution in England. We can use this to create a story, maybe the mystery could be around stolen blueprints or ideas about the next great thing to improve Britain’s way of life. Or maybe the good old inheritance story, where some old noble suddenly died right after he finished his will; handing all his wealth to that one suspicious relative.
2. The mystery revolves around a forbidden love.
Maybe add another genre to the mix. Maybe a romance something like Romeo and Juliet were one of them is the son/daughter of a wealthy businessman while the other is a child of a rival or a peasant. The relationship could be a crutch to hurt the wealthy businessman either financially or through reputation. This is starting to sound a lot like Crimson Peak… I’m obsessed with Tom Hiddleston.
3. The killer has no relationship to the couple.
Like all great mysteries, we have a twist. Instead of the killer being someone between the major characters, the killer is actually an external character - someone mention with no importance, maybe another disgruntled rival or former employee. The struggle between the characters, as they blame each other for the murders reach breaking point through the collapse of the couple’s relationship or an unexpected murder.
Let’s stop there I think you get the point, just use that beautiful brain of yours and with the help of Research and my 5 random facts device, you don’t even need five facts you could write three and put together the basic construct of your story. But it’s easy to create conflict, forbidden love, disgruntled employees, unrequited dreams but how do you actually portray conflict within your work do you start off with it straight away or do you build up to it until it appears at the end.
Conflict is quite hard to write and as a newbie writer myself I do not believe I can properly convey how one must go about creating conflict. However, that is not going to stop me from trying. You see writing fiction is not creating a new world and experiences but altering old ones. To twist a reader's assumptions to fit in with your narrative. Let’s say I wrote a story about a floating city, the reader would automatically raise questions on how is it floating? Why is it floating? Is the story set on earth? Or in it set in another part of space or time?
Then the writer comes in to answer those queries.
“Earth in the year 3016 has become a shell of its former self, the overuse of resources and damages to the earth’s environment has disrupted the core causing the land to erode. Scientists have come up with a solution to raise the major cities across the world through the help of Solarium. Concentrated Solar energy that disrupts a gravitational force on an object.”
So to create conflict all we need to do is alter our own experiences, how did you feel when you got your first rejection, how did it feel when you lost your phone, how did it feel getting into a fight with your best friend. All these conflicts can be altered, can be used and be weaved into your narrative; you just need to break down the emotions and study the process of how you dealt with them and then compare or alter the reactions to your characters personality.
So now we have the emotions that are created from conflict, now we need the process of portraying it on to paper. The best way to explain is with the ever convenient jump. A jump is a perfect description of the output of energy within a story. For example, let’s take the breakdown of a relationship. The idle pose is the start of the relationship everything is fine, two people happy to be together. Then the build up, the cracks start to appear, missed dinners, forgotten birthdays. The lift off, fights start to break out over the most mundane of mistakes.
Then we have the break up the height of the conflict, the couple goes their separate ways. The descent is the couple slowly start to remember the good times they had and the realization of how trivial their fights were. The landing is figuring out the problem, the world around them had built up these situations forcing the couple to focus on other matters and not on their relationship. The resting pose is coming to terms with the situation. Maybe they try to mend bridges, or they just stay friends and learn from the experience.
I think the best way to understand or position conflict within your work is to use a graph, that way you will be able to see the ups and downs within your work as well as comparing the highs and lows of several characters within your story. For example, maybe the couple above have reached the beginning stages of the jump, as small cracks appear in their marriage. Only for friends of the couple to break up, both unaware of the chaos in their friend's relationship. They decide to find a way to cure their marriage, either through counseling or taking a vacation from the struggles of life.
So, in conclusion, I’m going to leave you with more questions than answers for you guys to create or develop conflict within your work. Whether you are starting on the main conflict within the story or developing the subtle conflicts, then you need to ask yourself.
First, is there a reason for the conflict?
Has the reader fully grasped the gravitas of the conflict and how the impact of the event will affect the characters within the book and ultimately the reader? Your audience needs to get fully invested in these characters of yours and conflict is the best way to do it so you need to make sure your main conflict is strong while not being overshadowed by smaller conflicts.
and Second, have I built up enough tension or insight to support the conflict?
Has there been enough build up to let the readers learn about the characters and the events before the conflict occurs? Or if you choose to start with conflict is their ways you have set up to portray the damage of the event throughout the book. The graph is just another form of Outlining, it is a visual plan of the tension within your story and you will be able to get a grasp of if you have too much or not enough within your work.
Hopefully, you guys have learned something, another long ass post from me and I don’t understand most of it… and I wrote it. Hopefully, you will get something out of this chaos I called a post and my next post before I restart my quest to become an author is if a story needs a prologue.
See you then.