Conflict is paramount in a good story. As much as we love our characters we must put roadblocks in their way, creating hardship and drama, to write a compelling tale. In thinking about the plot for the second book in my Trinity Falls Series this week, I've been pondering crisis and climax, looking for "THE BIG ONE," and then real life reared its head and threatened to bring a friend to her knees. While my heart broke, it reminded me that sometimes it's the little things that pile up and tumble like dominoes.
I'm sure most of you have had those times in your life when you throw up your hands and ask yourself "What else could go wrong?" "Could things get any worse?" I know I always knock on wood after asking that last one. It always seems things can, and do, get worse before better. Your problems don't have to be big things. Maybe alone none of them would even be a blip on the radar, but combined, they bury you. The same is true for your characters. Stop and think about consequences. You make one mistake and everything snowball’s from there.
An everyday example could be making an accounting error in your checkbook. What starts out a simple mathematical error causes a check or more to bounce. Each bounced check results in a thirty to thirty-five dollar overdraft fee. When you're short of funds to begin with, this just adds insult to injury. The fees add up, cutting into the money you have for the next week’s bills and make you short. If this is your story, what happens then? Does your hero/heroine bounce more checks in an effort to catch up, piling on the fees? Maybe there's no money for groceries. Without gas money they can't get to work, which puts them further in the hole. How embarrassing is it when the school starts calling because there are no funds in your child's lunch account? Does your character's electric get turned off? Does the bank threaten to repo their car or foreclose on their house? It is the domino effect.
This is just one example, but I think you see where I’m going. One tiny error and you can lose everything. If you can see the reality, so can your readers. Create conflict that they relate to. Your readers will bond with the characters as they go through trials and tribulations that they themselves have been through or fear. Building this connection will draw your audience in and invoke their heart, and that is what makes for a great story.
Well .. it is the New Year. No more excuses of holidays to put off editing, promoting, and writing. So ... my first novel is now in the hands of a couple trusted people for a read over. I started a website last night. (It's a WIP and not public yet) And I have dusted off 2009's NaNo novel and started revisions. 2012 is looking good.
I am A 42 year old Scorpio from rural Indiana that loves to lose myself in the escape of the written word. We remember the characters that we laugh with, love with, and cry with. I thrive on making my reader FEEL.
In the last couple months of 2010 I had seven short stories accepted to anthologies,my first time in print, two more joined the published ranks in January 2011, and one since. I am super excited to be taking this first step towards my dreams. I am currently working on a novel.
"Your acting, or your writing, is not yours to judge. So saying "I'm not very good at this" is some sort of protective mechanism, and it will keep you from sharing it with people. You have to be willing to fearlessly expose yourself." ~Lee Tergesen~