Monday, June 25, 2012

Conflict and Drive

Every book needs conflict and something to drive the story forward.

Often this is found within our characters. Their past haunts them. They suffer from shortcomings. They struggle to achieve a dream. All of these things not only add depth to a story, they can be the core plotline. Internal conflict is my favorite and I’ve used it in all five of my books:

Book I - Lori dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in swimming and is driven by this goal.

Book II - Sarah suffers from a poor self-image and struggles to find her value and place in life.

Book III - James is haunted by a past of abuse and fights to rise above the damage and be a better person.

Book IV - Mike is consumed by guilt over two incidents and strains to learn to forgive himself.

Book V - Heather battles a selfish attitude, floundering in her attempts to form meaningful relationships.

What internal conflicts do your characters face?

21 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love characters who've been wounded in the past. And I mean serious wounds, like James in book III. Those are the ones I love to read and write about.

Matthew MacNish said...

My characters generally have some extreme internal flaws, usually that hold them back from achieving success against external conflict.

Stephen Tremp said...

My MC has begun to coast in life and is making poor self-centered choices. This almost gets him killed. The character arc is that he needs to lose his own self gratification, grow up fast, and rely on his friends if he is to stay alive and defeat the bad guys.

Karen Walker said...

My main character was born with some gifts she doesn't understand and a purpose that is difficult to fulfill. There are some early childhood issues as well.
Karen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My character's past and attitude cause most of his issues.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You cover some great ones that young people face in your books. My main character fights childhood abandonment issues.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Well most of mine have to do with trust issues, whether its learning to trust themselves or others. In my current story the mc is an archaeologist with a gift for finding things. She's dealt with someone wooing her for her knowledge and then stealing and claiming her work. Men aren't on the top of her trust list.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Johanna Garth said...

My MC is dealing with the duality of human nature for good and evil.

LD Masterson said...

My MC was falsely accused of something then cleared but her reputation was ruined and her trust of people along with it.

cleemckenzie said...

Love those conflicted characters. I feel totally connected to them and can't stop rooting for their success.

So far I've written one story about a girl who yearns to trust, but can allow that to happen; one about a girl who loses everything and can't accept her loss; one who is filled with guilt and tries to escape those feelings.

I think it's time for a comedy!

Southpaw said...

I think mine are in the realm of dealing with a disagreeable change.

Nancy Thompson said...

My book, though a thriller, is really about the MC's internal conflict, that he is judgmental and blindly narcissistic. It's only when he realizes his flaws that he changes and tries to make amends.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Stina, James was a tough one but there was so much there to work with.

Stephen, that's good.

Sia, my Sarah really struggled with that trust issue.

Clee, sometimes we need to change it up a bit.

DL Hammons said...

I would say that a good measure of guilt drives one of my characters pretty hard. :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

As I write mostly about my life, some is good others bad but that's my life.

Yvonne.

Talli Roland said...

I love conflict! My characters usually face a conflict based on something in their back-story.

Ciara said...

I love conflict. My poor characters are so flawed and full of issues from their past.

KarenG said...

It's ironic that the one thing we try to avoid in life we love to see in the books we read!

Jemi Fraser said...

Good question. In my current ms, my MC faces the challenge of dealing with a horrific incident in her past - and learning how to take risks. :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I love to give my characters a lot of issues to deal with. Guilt, life-altering decision and so on.
It really makes a read better when that happens.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. I like how you've summarised each of your books - giving us an inkling of their content .. and I like KarenG's comment re we avoid conflict like the plague in life - yet a story would almost not be real if there wasn't conflict involved.

Cheers Hilary