Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Help!


I've been working on my WIP and, while I write, I'm not concentrating at all times on my characters' goals, motivations, and conflicts. Is this something for the second draft? Should I plot more extensively before I write?

Also, what is your definition of inner conflict (vs. external conflict) and can you give me an example?


Thx guys.

11 comments:

Paperback Writer said...

Oh, my...

Just write. Fix stuff later.

(Yeah, that's calling the pot black, isn't it? :)

redchurch said...

A fear of heights might be an inner conflict. By the end of the story the character ends up dangling from a high building.

Character A arguing with character B would be an interpersonal conflict.

A ticking time bomb that the protagonist has to stop is an external conflict.

The best advice I've read says that where you can, try to link the inner conflict with the external and interpersonal conflicts.

To answer the plotting question, this is where theme comes in. If your story is about skydiving, then the central character should have a fear of heights? A silly and trite example, but there ya go.

Your characters should have some kind of strong emotion in relation to the central theme of your story.

Nienke said...

So, redchurch, could a certain moral - such as believing in honesty - be an inner conflict when someone is forced to lie? Or, does the inner conflict have to exist as a conflict above and before anything else? Like a woman wanting independence in a world where women are still repressed? Or is that still dependent on the external? Hmmph. I'm stumped.

redchurch said...

Yes, someone being forced to compromise their values of honesty is an inner conflict. But it is externalized if they are forced to confront a corrupt police force, for example. Their inner conflict is smacking right up against something going on in the world. If it's just their inner conflict by itself, it's not as powerful as when some external factor or force creates conflict based around the character's inner values.

Your example of a woman wanting independence in a world that holds them back is exactly what I'm talking about. You could also weave something in about the price of independence. In order to achieve that independence, the woman has to make some kind of sacrifice (like giving up family, or a lover). This would heighten the conflict even more!

Whatever makes things more challenging for your character.

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

Very much enjoyed my stroll through your blog...as a poet and an avid reader, I found it both an enlightening and enriching stay. I thank you...

Cole said...

I do a little bit of it all -- I write with zest when the call is there - then plot when I can't write - going over and over things 'looking' for any missing things. Same for characterization -- when I'm not able to write due to other duties... I'm 'thinking'. :)
Cole

Shesawriter said...

I can't add anything more than what's already been said except that unless you know what your characters want, you won't be able to move forward.

Nienke said...

with hammer: thank you! Your site is great too and I've added you to my blogroll! I like your poetry and you have very interesting pictures.

cole:
That's what I'm doing too. But dang it I want to get the first draft done and not worry so much about all the technical aspects of a good story!

shesawriter:
I know what you mean, but my dilemma is how do I create inner conflict independently from external conflict. Although, I've reading up on it and they are more closely intertwined than I thought.

Thx everyone for your comments!

Melissa Marsh said...

Late to the party...

I think you should probably have your characters' GMC's in mind while you write, but if you don't get it right the first time, no big deal. I'm focusing on my characters' GMC's while I'm editing my novel right now and you'll probably find that you had them in there more than you thought.

Nienke said...

Melissa - so keep writing and worry about it later? Thx Mel!

Mia King said...

I'm in a weird Zen space today, but I really think you should do whatever you want - if you feel you want to flesh out a character, do it. If you don't, then keep on moving through the story. Writing is such an organic process that even though we all look for the magic formula, there isn't one, and what works for one person may not work for another.

You may also have included more than you realize - you'll see this during a re-read or another reader will. That's what makes the process so great - some of this stuff happens independent of us. It sounds like you're doing great - just keep on truckin'!