Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Dream, Perchance to Come Up With a Plausible Flippin' Conflict!

I thought I was set: cool premise, interesting characters, a heroine, a couple of heroes, a villain. Bwahahahaha! I have a story! Then I read Kristen Lamb's post: Little Darlings &; Why They Must Die...For Real.

My bright bulb of a brain dimmed a bit. I had lots of cool things, sure, sure I did, but no flipping conflict! Oh, yeah, maybe: gee-I like him-but I also-like him, conflict. Which isn't conflict at all, it's being conflicted, and sure won't carry a story and especially not written like that. I was just like one of the people who, when asked what their story's about, goes on and on about mythology and she knows this but doesn't know that and he thinks this but is really a werewolf and an angel -- see, see how cool that is? No.

So, I went back to the beginning. Of creation. Seriously. The mythology that I'm using for my premise and basing my characters on has many, many conflicts. Reading through the myths, I thought about how I could keep their core, yet turn them on their side. I started asking what-ifs.

I love what-ifs.

What if heroine's attracted to hero (also another guy).
What if they both attend the same extraordinary boarding school -- proximity.
And, what if she finds out he's the one responsible for her parents' death AND the only way to possibly avenge her parents' death, is with a weapon -- an ancient artifact, that only she can wield.
And what if said artifact has been stolen by a Mad Genius.
And what if she has to work with hero to retrieve artifact in order to save the world.

Here you are Madame, your bucket of conflict coming right up.
I don't know that I've ever come up with the conflict before I was finished with the first chapter -- I know! I would write not knowing what would happen. I've left lots open, so I'll still have the freshness as I write -- like how in the hell am I going to get the hero out of this mess.

Thank you muses. And thank you Kristen Lamb.

Have you serendipitously read or saw something that shifted your view point?


  1. HI
    I read your post and it reminded me of a young person's author that visited our local library last year. She spoke to a group of grade fours and fives. She told everyone of the kids that they could make up a story. She told them to ask a 'what if' question. Then she played with the group for about ten minutes and the kids were amazed at what they created.
    She started with...
    What if the floor behind that girl in the red shirt and pig tails opened up and she fell in?
    Then she let the kids go through all kinds of plot ideas.
    Then she asked...
    What if the teacher called a student's name and then they disappeared? So the teacher called another name and then that child disappeared. Then she called your name?
    And so forth ...
    It is a lot of fun.

  2. Jodi, that is so cool. I love when kids get excited about writing. I bet it was a blast. Thanks for stopping by.