1. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Conflict between characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by cazann34, Sep 19, 2012.

    I was wondering what is the best way to develop conflict between my two characters, they're both girls and go to the same school but are in different years; one is 13 and the other 15. I did have them playing in a basketball match and had one accidentally kick the ball in the others face, knocking out her tooth (the 15 year old), but now I'm thinking that's unlikely since they're not even in the same year. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
     
  2. dreamkeeper
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    dreamkeeper New Member

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    What is the plot? Write it (not here) and then spot the conflict there. Without conflict, story would go nowhere.
     
  3. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Use the fact that the different age differences have different outlooks--child psychology. The 13 year old probably has no clue as to what social environmental game the 15 year old is stuck in. The 15 year old could be a totally different person out of school, compared to the pretense of the social structure inside the school. Maybe the 13 year old perceived her as nice because of meeting her outside and by approaching her in a school setting--the 15 year old is forced to abide by the strict rules of her social appearance and be brutal. From here you could have a 13 year old reaction which is fight or flight--have her embarrass the 15 year old publicly to make up for her being a jerk (it also shows the 13 year old is too young to understand why the 15 year old was mean). Now you have guaranteed conflict.
     
  4. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    The plot is; Three teenagers (these 2 girls and a boy) who have nothing in common have to unite to save the world, in their unity they find strength to fight the evil ......?(keeping that to myself, its a plot twist) These two girls are worlds apart, one is popular and pretty while the other is plain and bookish. I need to create a scene where these girls would clash, so they can then unite later, but I'm having trouble working out how they would clash. How would two girls of different ages clash at school? BTW the boy is NOT a love interest to either of the girls - so no love triangles. Any suggestions?
     
  5. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    OK thats more clear. The flaw of the book smart is usually social ineptness or cold behavior due to intelligence and seeing things statistically. The popular usually is more emotionally driven, selfish (but not in a purposeful way necessarily), but socially strong and street wise.

    What you have here is a problem in which two situations usually need to occur. One where the book smart will see the value of social view and emotional response and another where the popular girl will see the value of having a deeper mind, and thinking of self less.

    In your case you're looking to have a clash, so I would say you take their best characteristic and find a situation that could be solved by them both equally as well. This will cause a collision because both will believe in their approach more. As for the situation that is the catalyst--just embody the theme. So if Unity = Strength is your theme, you to magnify either the lack of unity or the result of unity. So in this case you create a situation that can be solved by both, but one that could be solved better if both work together. Whether you want them to succeed in this scene is up to you.
     
  6. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean, can you explain this paragraph. Perhaps if I clarify it better. I need a situation that would make these girls become enemies (why the popular girl might bully the bookish girl) so later they can to put their differences aside and work together to save the world. I had a scene where the bookish girl knocked out the popular girls tooth out, with a basket ball but it didn't work - I need something similar, something violent perhaps.
    Thank you for reading this, again, and giving me feedback.
     
  7. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    So your theme is Unity it seems, so right now your creating conflict and showcasing the opposite of the theme--this will later make your theme stronger.

    Maybe you could have a situation where bookish is so focused on a project, reading, or an experiment-- that it shows her lack of social ability.
    This will cause the pop girl as she comes into contact to be accidentally hurt, humiliated (example spilling a beaker of red fluid on her white shirt), or insulted.

    This fissure will cause enough tension, but plausibly fixable when needed later for character development and unity.

    I think you were looking for specific examples, I was merely trying to point you in a direction: Keep on theme, keep your characters 3-D and they will show you problems, and think honestly what would happen, what they would do, how they would react. You don't have to use my idea, but hopefully that one gives you an idea.
     
  8. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    This sounds like just want I need.....thank you!
     
  9. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Anytime :)
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To understand the unpopular side, I suggest reading the essay Why Nerds are Unpopular, by Paul Graham. It's on the web. If you were in the popular or middle ground socially in school, a view into the world of those who cannot bring themselves to make popularity their highest priority is, IMO, essential.

    Is your story in the United States? In the US, at that age, you don't need a substantial reason for a popular girl (P) to behave badly toward an unpopular girl (U).

    ("Willow! Nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.")

    Popularity in middle and high school is about social position, which means that social position must be clearly highlighted and enforced. Attacking the unpopular is almost a duty of the popular. It's part of their job. No actual conflict is required.

    U's "offense" could be anything that will draw attention to her--wrong clothes, wrong hair, too smart, too dumb, too clumsy, too skilled, too ugly, too pretty, brings her lunch, buys her lunch, has a funny name, has the same first name as a popular kid, has a speech impediment, has a limp, the teachers like her, the teachers dislike her--it doesn't matter what it is. Something about her drew attention and attacks, and she didn't have the social skills to fight back.

    And when P is tormenting U, of course U will despise P - while the popular girls may consider their behavior to be all in a day's work in the job of being popular, their victims are naturally unlikely to agree.

    I'm saying all this because to me, adding a separate conflict would be clutter.
     
  11. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Is your story in the United States? In the US, at that age, you don't need a substantial reason for a popular girl (P) to behave badly toward an unpopular girl (U).


    No, it is set in the British countryside. The unpopular girl is from the city and moves to a rural village, she starts a new school were the popular girl rules supreme (lol) because the unpopular girl is from the city she is at first 'interesting' a label she soon loses because of her bookishness etc.

    Popularity in middle and high school is about social position, which means that social position must be clearly highlighted and enforced. Attacking the unpopular is almost a duty of the popular. It's part of their job. No actual conflict is required.
    I like this.....sounds about right. You've given me lots to think about - Thanks.

    U's "offense" could be anything that will draw attention to her--wrong clothes, wrong hair, too smart, too dumb, too clumsy, too skilled, too ugly, too pretty, brings her lunch, buys her lunch, has a funny name, has the same first name as a popular kid, has a speech impediment, has a limp, the teachers like her, the teachers dislike her--it doesn't matter what it is. Something about her drew attention and attacks, and she didn't have the social skills to fight back.


    BTW the unpopular girl is small for her age (she's 13 but looks 10-ish), has short cropped hair and wears drab clothes. So what you've said fits nicely. She doesn't have a limp or a speech impediment (that would be too! cruel) but she is clumsy and is useless at sports.

    Thanks again for your excellent advice.
     
  12. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    As a slightly bookish girl who moved from a English Northern city to a southern small town aged 14, I have some experience of being a new girl and not very popular (until I found a group of friend anyway). I was bullied for being new, having a weird northern accent and having red hair! The conflict between two teenage girls doesn't have to be earth shattering, as in the world of school, tiny incidents are always being blown out of proportion. If the new girl is bookish, then a project or extra class, she takes because she is clever, could be a source of resentment for the older popular girl, if she is struggling with the same class/ project. Especially if the older girl, is made to look stupid, by the bright but socially inept younger pupil. Academic success does not make you popular - usually - especially, as in my experience - when you move from a school where academic acheivement was prioritised to a school where sporting success is more prized. So plenty of scope anyway and some excellent suggestions in the posts above... good luck! :)
     
  13. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Hi Hettyblue,
    Thank you for your personal insight - your comments have been helpful.
    I originally that the bookish girl accidentally 'kicks' a basketball into the face of the popular girl, knocking out her front tooth (which I plan to post later to be critiqued) but later thought it was going too far so I am considering less drastic ways to cause conflict between these girls. I thought I might use jealousy to build conflict - the popular girl is jealous of the bookish girl because she has taken the popular girls friends away from her, this makes the popular girl jealous (because she usually gets all the attention) so she retaliates by bullying the bookish girl for her ineptness or her looks and encouraging others to join in, which they do.
     

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