Tag Archive - conflict

The Secret to Crafting High Stakes

We’re looking at conflict in our fiction, and last week I touched a bit on this essential “corner pillar” of novel construction. Conflict is crucial to having a compelling story, for if our hero has no obstacles as he tries to reach his goal, the story will be bor-ing. What would The Wizard of Oz be like if, once Dorothy arrived in the Land of Oz, she had only to take a walk in the park without incident to arrive back in Kansas? Well, there wouldn’t be a story, and story is everything.

So I’ll assume we’re in agreement that we need conflict in our novels. I talked last week about some different types of classic scenarios that pit man against other forces (opposition), and how conflict doesn’t necessarily imply a bad guy or antagonist blocking your hero’s way. But what conflict should do is present high stakes for him. Continue Reading…

Creating Conflict with a Purpose

Conflict. No one likes conflict. Except, of course, readers of fiction. And, one hopes, writers of said fiction. Why do I say “one hopes”? Because I’m surprised by how many manuscripts I edit and critique that have very little to no conflict in the story. And conflict is crucial.

I might even be so bold as to say that if you don’t have a strong element of conflict inherent in your story, you don’t have a story worth reading (or writing). And this is why conflict is one of the four essential corner pillars in constructing a novel. Continue Reading…

Positive Attributes: The Way to a Reader’s Heart

Today’s guest post is the second of two from author Becca Puglisi. With her blogging partner, Angela Ackerman, she has written three essential resource books for fiction writers that I can’t recommend enough. Last year they released The Emotion Thesaurus to great acclaim, and now they have followed through with the release of the companion books The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Because I feel the information they expound on in these books is so important for novelists to understand and master,  I asked Becca to share some of the material from these two new releases with the readers of Live Write Thrive. If you want to be a great novelist, you need these books and should use them extensively as a resource in your writing.

Last week, I briefly discussed the character arc and explained its basic elements. The big takeaway was that flaws play a large part in a hero’s journey because they provide her with something that must be overcome. But if you want to write a successful protagonist (or villain or support character, for that matter), positive traits are equally important, for different reasons. Continue Reading…

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