Writing Conflict Into Your Novel
So you have a nice fantasy/fiction story going on and you have a happy ending. Guess what? We’re going to turn that all upside down now! Get ready to throw your readers a curveball and upset the apple cart. Every story needs conflict – even children’s stories. Think about it. Where would Little Red Riding Hood be without the big bad wolf? We all love a villain to hate.
10 Things To Consider Before Writing Conflict
Some elements to think about as you write the outline of your conflict.
- What motivates both your hero and the villain so they’re drawn into the upcoming conflict?
- Other ideas…
- What keeps your hero and villain locked together in this conflict?
- Past History
- Mutual Love Interest
- Loss of Someone or Something
- Other ideas…
12 Key Elements On Writing Conflict
Your hero tries to understand what just happened in the inciting event and what it means to them and their way of life. This is the start of Act 2.
- Reveal the power of the antagonist (villain) and the true nature of the conflict arising.
- The hero begins to recognize what’s at stake and searches for ways to fight the battle.
- Your hero recognizes the true reason behind the conflict.
- With new knowledge and understanding, your hero gains headway in the conflict.
- Foreshadows Act 3 (sets up the base for what’s coming next) and reminds the hero what’s at stake. (We’ll look at foreshadowing more later).
- Your hero rallies everything they’ve got and launches it against the enemy with a seeming
- A defeat for your hero after the seeming victory in Act 2. This begins Act 3.
- The hero questions their goal, commitment and choices. They begin to doubt themselves and their ability to win the battle.
- Your hero comes face to face with the enemy.
- The next event is a duel to the death for the hero and the villain. This can be physically or metaphorically. The reader needs to be kept on the edge of their seat here because they know one or the other will lose.
- The hero wins and the conflict is ended.
- The ending of your story should give the reader ‘breathing space’ and ease them into the hero’s new reality.
Watch a favourite movie – it doesn’t need to be fantasy – and see how the conflict escalates and is resolved.
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
The Hobbit -The Battle of the Five Armies