Friday 4 April 2008

Writing Tip: Creating Conflict by Theresa Chaze

Creating Conflict:

Conflict is the stress factor, which not only propels the character to change, but also keeps the reader turning pages. By definition in literature, conflict is plot tension: opposition between or among characters or forces in a literary work that shapes or motivates the action of the character. No matter what genre, the conflict creates the drama, which is the backbone of the story. Without the suspense it creates, there would be no reason for the reader to be drawn in to the tale.

Conflict is not limited to physical altercation, but involves any plot twist, turn or ploy that causes emotional, spiritual or physical distress. Threatening to punch someone can create fear, but withholding love can have the same effect. One is physical, the other is emotion, yet they can have the same result. It is the stressor that causes discord and confusion within and around the main character. However, story conflict involves more than a single event; it is better described as a building of scenes one on another like a staircase, until the character has limited choices. By narrowing the character's options, her or his possibilities are limited, thereby forcing the character into a crisis situation. If done correctly, the readers are further drawn into the story, as they are anticipating the next plot twists and the eventual resolution.

Traditionally there are four conflict themes to both short stories and novels; however, in From Blank Page to Book Shelves, there is a fifth.

Man against himself

Man against man

Man against nature

Man against God or spirituality

Man against Fate or Karma (This is explained in From Blank Page to Book Shelves.)

Each theme is a generic conflict category, which help organize the characters and plot. They help define the roles of the characters in relation to their challenges. In this case, man is used as a generic term for person or main character; sometimes the central character isn’t human, but term would still apply. It is the focal point character to which I refer. In small pieces, such as short stories, there is only one conflict theme. However, in longer pieces such as novellas and novels, there are usually diverse characters so there can be more than one theme or a series of interdependent themes that guide the reader to the central conflict.

From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book is a new ebook, which explains not only more about conflict, but also about character development, story plot progression and other writing tips. It will also make your publishing experience more successful by helping the author to ask the right questions. The marketing information includes how to effectively use SEO keywords in press releases and low cost to free promotional options. Currently, this ebook is available as an Amazon Kindle or on the author's website, for $7.00. Copies bought on the author's site are accompanied by a 345 page listing of over 2000 independent bookstores.

-I would like to thank Theresa Chaze for joining me here as my guest. As an added bonus, here is a peek at the press release for From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book-

Authors: A New Ebook on Writing and Marketing Your Book

From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book is a new ebook, which shares writing tips, and marketing strategies, which will make your publishing experience more successful. The marketing information includes how to effectively use SEO keywords in press releases, chose a publisher and low cost to free promotional options, while sharing writing tips.

The first part of the ebook gives basic writing tips. From plot organization to creating conflicts, this ebook help authors understand the basic structure of both short stories and novels. In addition, there are chapters on characterization and sensory writing, which help the authors draw in their readers into a multi-dimensional reading experience.
The second part of the book includes the importance of protecting the rights of the author, not only by copyrighting the work, but choosing the proper publishing venue. Safeguarding a work can be done easily and inexpensively; if done properly it insures that it will be legally protected. Choosing the correct publishing format and publisher can also make or break a book’s opportunities to reach the reading public.
Marketing and Promotions is explained in the third part of the ebook. It describes how the publishing venue affects how a book can be best advertised not only to readers, but also to bookstore owners. In addition, it lists low cost or free promotional ideas that can be used both on and offline. Search Engine Optimization makes press releases more effective; using the correct key words in the proper format will efficiently attract the attention of the search engines, thereby raising the article or site higher in the rankings and drawing more traffic to it.

From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book can’t guarantee to place an author on the New York Times best sellers list; however, it will help improve their writing skills and understanding of the business end of the industry.


Anonymous said...

Using Theresa's metaphor of conflict as a staircase can help authors visualize the conflict in in their novels. Conflict is all important -- without it, there is no story -- but too often writers mistake bickering for conflict.

If the rest of her book is as good as her explanation of conflict, it should be a valuable addition to the libraries of both new and seasoned writers.

Theresa Chaze said...

I would like to thank the host for giving me a forum. Conflict building is very important, but it is only one leg of the three legged stool. The other is characterization and plot. If all three aren't developed equaly the story is off balance.

The question I'm asking to day is what do your create first: the characters, the plot or the conflict?

Wooh said...

I agree about how important conflict is in moving a story line along. Without conflict there is much less to keep the reader motivated to read. My favourite author Captain Marryat used conflict within the mind of his heros and showed how a logic taken to its extreme produces humourous results, as in 'Peter Simple'.

I enjoyed your contribution.

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