Our stories need these three elements, but for me, that is the most difficult thing to add to my novels. I dislike confrontation and will go to great lengths to avoid it. I get very angry with others, but rather than getting into an argument, I will have conversations with them in my head and tell them what I think and feel. If someone has done or is doing something that needs to be corrected, I fret and stew until it comes to the point I must say something. I’m not sure why that is so difficult.
In every editing situation I’ve had to rewrite scenes because of lack of conflict. Donald Maas has great information on conflict in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel, as does Randy Ingermanson and a number of others. Ane Mulligan is presenting a course on GMC now on the ACFW loop, so it’s not like there’s no information on how to put it in our writing. Even after reading several craft books with chapters on conflict, I still have trouble.
Conflict in what a character wants to do and should do isn’t as difficult as writing the conflict between people. Other authors seem to have no problem with getting their characters into heated arguments with others. In all my stories I have conflicts within the characters, but when it comes to conflict between or among my characters, I tend to avoid those scenes and just talk about what happened in a later scene.
Right now I’m going through some major revisions in order to insert the “off scene” conflict into the plot. The conflict is there, but it needs to be seen by the reader as it happens and not in discussion or thoughts about what happened. One of these days I hope to get past that barrier the first time around and not have to rewrite as much. I love my editor, and she always gives me such good advice. Without her, my writing would be pretty bland by most standards of GMC. Thanks, Lori, for making us all better writers.
Any ideas you might want to share regarding conflict will be greatly appreciated by this Sanguine personality who would rather hide than confront.