1. claire_h
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    claire_h New Member

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    Initial conflict

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by claire_h, Feb 26, 2012.

    Hi everybody!

    I have aead a few books about writing a novel (I am a newbie). I have worked out the overall theme and premise of the book, and roughly how I want the first chapter to go. However my MC has no 'conflict' yet. All the advice I have seen so far points that they must be in the middle of some great personal crisis to make it interesting. Basically MC arrives at a stately home and the conflict comes later when he arrive falls in love with MC2, gradually over a the first few chapters, which then leads to huge conflict. He isn't particularly conflicted when he first arrives though!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. AntisocialMoose
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    AntisocialMoose Member

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    Hiya!

    I first want to say that you can, and possibly should, have more than one conflict. There are all kinds of conflicts in a story. You can have central conflict (falling in love with MC2) but you should have some smaller conflict, possibly related to or not at all related to the central conflict.

    For example, does he want to go to the stately home? Does it put any of his current life plans out of balance? Does he hate anyone else who is there? Is he terrified of heights, but has to stay in the room in the highest part of the house? Give him SOME conflict to make things interesting, even if it's a minor one. Something to draw us in. It could be as small as the conflict of getting him to the house.

    I have trouble with this as well, the idea that you should immediately have a life change at the beginning.. Yes, there should be change, but unless you're writing in medias res you won't be in the middle of the biggest conflict available to you.

    You just need something more interesting than his normal activities.
     
  3. claire_h
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    claire_h New Member

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    Thanks!

    I guess he is of a lower class and does feel nervous to be amongst the aristocracy in such a personal way so that could be it. I was comparing the initial conflict to later conflict and thinking it would be too tame to be classed as conflict, but your suggestions have helped.
     
  4. AntisocialMoose
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    AntisocialMoose Member

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    If your character thinks it is conflict, it makes him uncomfortable, and it's a life changing event (which it seems it is! lower class moving in with the upper class? Yup!) Then it's good enough conflict :) Good luck
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The initial conflict need not be "great". It could be as simple as discovering the shirt he put on for an interview has a mustard stain, and he has no time to change shirts.

    Just give a character something to overcome, and let the reader see something iof the character through his or her response to the challenge.
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds like more than enough conflict to keep my interest.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A status quo isn't the best material for an opening conflict. An incident arising from that condition would be better. something that takes the character to a tipping point such that he has to take action.

    For example, it wouldn't be enough to start a story with a young slave toiling on a cotton plantation while his master's thugs spit on them and whip them if they slack off. However, if his father is beaten in front of him and dragged off to be hanged, a chronic condition is converted into a crisis.

    He would continue to suffer a long term condition, but a crisis forces him to make a choice. Does he risk mhis own life to try to free his father? Does he attempt revenge? Or does he do nothing and add a burden of self-loathing as a coward? Even no change in his behavior becomes a life-changing choice.
     

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