Tag Archive - conflict

Tension and Pacing Through Conflict and Emotional Narrative

This month we’ve been attacking Fatal Flaw #7—Lack of Pacing and Tension. Tension is crucial in a story. Without it, readers will stop reading. Pacing is linked to tension, and there are many ways to ensure strong pacing in a novel. Take a look at what editor Christy Distler suggests to create strong pacing and tension through conflict and emotional narrative.

This month we’ve been talking about tension and pacing in fiction. As a quick review, tension is what motivates your reader to keep turning the pages of the story. It grabs their attention and makes them want (or, even better, need) to know what’s going to happen next.

Pacing is the rate at which a story is told, and it can vary from slow to fast depending on several factors—for example: the characters, the setting, or the scene’s action (or lack of it). While pacing is always present and tension isn’t, both require good storytelling if they’re to work in a writer’s favor.

Two great ways of keeping up the tension and pacing are through the use of conflict and emotional narrative. Conflict, or a character’s opposition with other characters or circumstances (or both), keeps a story interesting. Emotional narrative invokes readers’ interest by allowing them to get to know a character and care about what happens to him or her. If a character’s inner thoughts and motivations aren’t shown, he or she seems more like a puppet just going through the motions. Continue Reading…

The Valuable Lessons Conflict Teaches Us

As we wrap up our look at the third corner pillar of novel construction—conflict with high stakes—I’d like to make a few other observations about conflict. I spoke a bit about inner and outer conflict last week (if you’ve missed any of the posts on this topic, start here), and how the best novels have both types of conflict in great measure, and in various strengths involving as many characters and situations as possible. Messier is better when it comes to conflict, and we have to resist the tendency to be nice to our hero or heroine. Continue Reading…

A Look at Inner and Outer Conflict in Your Novel

We’re knee-deep in conflict (in our look at the four crucial corner pillars of novel construction). Let’s take some time to talk about the two faces of conflict: inner and outer. Maybe I don’t need to go over outer conflict because it’s obvious, right? Anything outside your character that hinders him or opposes him is external conflict. And usually this is easier to construct that internal conflict. But there are some things to keep in mind about external conflict.

I mentioned in an earlier post that you should have a central element of conflict in your story, but let me explain this a little further. Continue Reading…

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