Emotional Conflict-Ya Gotta Have It

February 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

First I would like to state that daydreaming constitutes writing. There would be no books in this world if writers didn’t stare off into space. No you can’t count it towards words or pages, but it’s as much of the process as typing one word at a time.

Now to why I’m blogging? Well, I hit a bump in the road with Lynne’s story. The one downside to revisting a character, for me, is that in my head they are fully written. With a small cast character you’ve pretty much just scratched the surface. Now I’ve gotten out my sander and varnish and I need to know what really makes this woman tick. With a new character you can make it up as you go along. Well, at least I do and then it becomes carved in stone.

Nathan, I’ve got. I know what his arc is going to be. Lynne, um, calling Lynne to aisle WIP! So, to bookend this post, while at PE sweating every ounce of fluid in my body, I started daydreaming. Easy to do on an exercise bike. *It also helps to forget the pain seizing your legs in cramps.* Nathan’s emotional conflict is just feeling emotions. Not being business-like. Life is more than money.

The trick with a romance is trying to get a mirror effect with the emotional *internal* conflict. Goes without saying getting the plot i.e. external conflict to do the same.

The wall I kept hitting with this half-built character is what does she need, which helps figuring out her arc and you know…writing the actual story. So this is what I thought of in my head five minutes into bike riding *and I had 15 more minutes to go. Those minutes can stretch into a life time*:

Plot: Nathan wants Lynne’s store.
External Conflict: Lynne isn’t giving the store up for anything. Nathan won’t stop at anything to get what he wants.

*Cliches are okay to think in when riding on an exercise bike*

Internal/Emotional: Nathan is trying to fill a hole within himself by the way of success. He has a skewed POV of himself, but the view Nathan sees he accepts.

Internal/Emotional: Lynne wants to fit in. Husband, house, 2.5 kids, white picket fence. She has a fear of failing at normalcy so she doens’t even try to be normal. A catch 22.

The common thread between these two is that she also has a skewed view of herself. She’s fine just the way she is. The true conflict is that she doesn’t accept what she sees even though the view Nathan is looking at isn’t the real him.

Clear as mud?

The underlining theme is acceptance and change. Never fails to amaze me the story I need to write are the same issues I need to tackle in my real life. That’s neither here or there. The point is I now have something to work with. All I had before were really good scenes that didn’t connect. Not saying you can’t write a book from a collection of good scenes. But to write a great book one should have them connect.

Off to daydream some more.


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