Conflict…It’s what fuels us

Conflict. It’s on my mind all the time. A good novel must have conflict. And that is key…inner conflict, outer conflict. What kind of conflict is your MC facing? That is what is stumping me right now as I plan and outline my Nanowrimo novel for this year. I’ve got inner and outside conflict and I think it sounds wonderful, but my fear is that the conflict is not enough to keep a reader interested throughout the entire story. There needs to be more, or perhaps it needs a slam-dunk deadline.

I agonize over this each time I do this, and it all comes together once I start typing. I’m finding that revisiting books I have adored and mapping out the conflict from those stories is helping me to outline my own. I find that most MCs seem to have inner and outside conflict. Having just one doesn’t get it, and that makes me happy since that’s what I’m struggling with right now.

For instance, think of the MCs of popular fiction. Harry Potter has an inner conflict (dealing with his parents’ death/dealing with his fears) and outside conflict (he who must not be named, among others). Even our dear Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice has inner conflict (her need to help her family, coming of age, love for Darcy) and outside conflict (poverty of her family, actions of her mother and sisters, Mr. Collins’ affections, etc.) There must be more than one conflict. I think that’s where I went wrong with last year’s novel (which I am not abandoning, just shelving for a moment). One major conflict is not enough.

Gee, I believe I’ve got inner and outside conflict right now! I think I’ll go with that…see ya’ later.


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