1. para_noir

    para_noir Member

    Apr 27, 2008
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    In the mirror

    Conflict, Characters, Dialouge

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by para_noir, May 10, 2008.


    Everyone tells me, every article I've ever read tells me, that Conflict is absotively posolutely necessary in each and every single scene or even page of your book.

    The million dollar question - "How in the world do I do that?"

    How? How do I create so much conflict? With what? My main character is insecure, lonely, and has contemplated suicide. My villain is almost the same, cept that the is evil.

    But this does not give me enough leverage to write out enough conflict!

    Then comes characters. I've been told countless times that a book without interesting characters are gonna fall dead within seconds. So how should I go about creating these "interesting" characters? I mean, how do *I* know that they are interesting enough?

    And lastly, dialogue. Is there any specific style I should use? Do I write like how I talk in real life? Or some other way? How do I get the readers to like the way my characters speak?
    Also, my book is based in Wales, as in, the story takes place there. But I've never been there. So is that going to be a problem? Do I absolutely *have to* get the exact speech of the people there and replicate that in my book? Or is it okay if I use normal speech patterns?

    Please help!

  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Well - conflict is essential to plot. To say that it must appear in every scene and every page is an exaggeration, though.

    Conflict is any pair of opposing forces or motivations. External conflicts include battles or competitions, struggles against nature or disaster, and overcoming financial or physical barriers to reach a goal.

    Internal conflict is often more interesting, and includes moral dilemnas, overcoming fears or prejudices, and intellect versus emotion. Internal conflict nearly always results in character growth - or decline. External conflict may also develop the character, but not as certainly.

    A plot can have multiple conflicts, but typically there will be one or two conflicts that define the plot. Combining an internal conflict and an external one can make a very compelling plot.

    A larger story, such as a novella or a novel, will need secondary conflicts. Not all of them need relate to the conflict of the central plot, but they need not be completely independent of it either. These side conflicts will define subplots, and the majority of these should help advance the main plot, either by assisting or resisting the protagonists' progression toward the goal. The purpose of any remaining side conflicts and subplots should be to develop the characters of your story.

    I hope this helps.
  3. Gone Wishing

    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

    May 1, 2008
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    This is debateable, but conflict is a necessary part of storytelling. It creates interest, and is the driving force behind the action of your story. Conflict arises in myriad ways, and defines more than just the obstacles your MC faces. It also means internal conflict, i.e. maybe your character has reservations or questions about his own motivations or decisions. Maybe your MC needs to do something that s/he doesn't want to in order to acheive their ultimate goal. Creating conflict comes from imagining the situations that you put your character in and what the possible consequences are - real and emotional.

    Your character is suicidal, there's plenty there for internal conflict. (Are they thinking about what will happen if they go through with it, the emotional impact on loved ones, or even where they go or what will become of their consciousness if they went through with it). Creating other issues of conflict in the physical sense comes from obstacles in the way of the MC, either by sequence of circumstance or as the direct result of the actions of other characters - and not necessarily always the villain, or enemy.

    Basing your characters in a place that you have never been to is going to be a little difficult - is it necessary? You will need to research Wales quite a lot to get a good grasp on mannerisms, colloquialisms and to get an ear for any nuances in speech that will make your characters more believable - which also speaks to your dialogue question.

    As a general rule, I find that the more I write (and therefore develop) a character, the easier it becomes to write their dialogue. (Think of it this way... You get to know a character like a friend or family member, and get a good idea of what someone would or wouldn't say, and how they are likely to say it).
  4. MumblingSage

    MumblingSage Contributing Member

    Apr 29, 2008
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    My heart in on the shores of Gitchee-Gume, my body
    As a general guideline, I find that people in fiction speak more like people writing in forums than people acutally speaking. On forums, we don't use timewasters like 'um' 'er' 'like', etc. We speak more to the point and rarely babble about the weather or other things--we stick to the topic we think is important.
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    nonsense!... i don't know what you've been reading or who you've been listening to, but that's ridiculous...

    you DON'T!... not if you're smart enough to think for yourself and just read the best writing by the best writers out there, to learn how to write well, instead of paying attention to those who just like to pretend they're experts...

    just write your story and when you go back and read it over, you'll probably find the 'conflict' is there, and was, all along... it's not supposed to jump out at the reader, but be there subtly in the background, giving the story/plot as a whole the tension that makes for good drama and holds the reader's interest...

    if they're interesting to you, they should be to some others... the trick is to not try to make them interesting, but just let them do things that are interesting, act in ways that will interest the reader, as you have them live out your plot... very ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events is even more interesting than oddballs doing anything, y'know...

    if you don't have a clue how people speak in the place you set your story, either do the requisite research and take however much time it requires to get it down believably, or set it where you're familiar with speech patterns and idioms...

    as for the various characters, they shouldn't all sound exactly the same, as each will have a life and a background that will affect how they talk... you have to get to know your characters, in order to tailor their dialog to who and what they are...

    hope this helps... hugs, maia
    1 person likes this.

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