1. mandukhai
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    mandukhai New Member

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    I'm having difficulty with conflict...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by mandukhai, Jun 20, 2011.

    So I'm writing a historical novel about the Amazons based on the Greek legend of Penthesilea, one of the Amazon queens. As the legend goes, Penthesilea accidentally kills her sister Hippolyte while hunting, and is so overcome by grief that she goes to fight in the Trojan War, and dies. I'm trying to stay close to the legend while still making it as historically accurate as possible--sort of a 'what if the Amazons had actually existed' kind of thing.
    Anyway, I've been reading up on conflict, and how you're supposed to have conflicts be resolved in ways that lead to more conflicts; sort of have all the conflict connected, in a way.
    I think I'm having difficulty connecting the two big conflicts. The primary conflict is internal; Penthesilea hates herself for killing Hippolyte but knows she can't be a good queen if she's depressed and full of self-loathing. She learns through a series of events that fighting for the Trojans in the war will absolve her in the gods' eyes, and thinks that if the gods can forgive her, then once she's earned their forgiveness, she can forgive herself and move on. BUT she's well-aware that she might die fighting, and on some subconscious level is hoping for death there.
    The secondary conflict is external; the Trojan War. According to the legend, Penthesilea arrives just after Achilles kills the Trojan prince Hector. She leads the Trojan army into battle, runs into Achilles on the battlefield, and they fight. She dies, but since she's done as the gods wanted and fought for Troy, she dies happy knowing the gods have absolved her.
    My question, if you're still around after this lengthy post, :) is this: Are the conflicts connected enough? Does it make sense that her guilt and hope of recovery lead her to die in battle? What can I do to make it better?
    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    Try researching Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The term wasn't coined until recently (as far as history goes), but it's been around as long as humans have been fighting.
     
  3. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    mandukhai, I think your plot makes sense and that the conflicts are clearly connected. You just need to describe it well - show how Penthesilea feels, how she reasons, how people around her view the conflict, and so on.

    A lot of what makes a plot or premise believable lies in how vividly you describe it.
     
  4. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Yeah, those two conflicts are already connected, so all you have to do is depict them well.
     
  5. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    I think perhaps you might need to consider why exactly Penthesilea is going to fight in the Trojan War as opposed to any other conflict which may be occuring at the time? Although the two could work together, I think it may make it a little more plausible if there is a connection between the war and Penthesilea's people - will a Torjan victory impact upon the Amazon's somehow? Does Penthesilea know someone who has already headed over there and that's how she heard of the fight?

    I don't think it's strictly necessary, but it may make your story stronger :)
     
  6. Depressing Jester
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    Depressing Jester Member

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    You might want to cover whether or not she fought her hardest with Achilles. If she subconsciously seeks death, does she maybe give him an opening? Or does she channel her grief into rage when she fights and only after the blow is struck does she find peace?
     

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