WHY WE LOVE DRAMA AND CONFLICT.
If you think about the last time you told a story to friends or family, you may - for humorous or dramatic purposes - have skipped a few unimportant details or even exaggerated. Why? Because you wanted to keep the interest of your audience.
If you picked up a book and read that John was fine when he woke up, had a fine day at work, a fine time out with his friends in the evening, went home and had a great night’s sleep - although this might be all well and good for John - one more paragraph of the same and you wouldn’t read another word. ‘John woke up in an unfamiliar apartment with a splitting headache and no memory of how he got there...’ gives a writer some opportunities for drama.
Without drama you cannot hold a reader. It doesn’t always have to be a bullet to the head crisis, it can be a will they, won’t they question (think Pride and Prejudice) - but you need dramatic action and conflict in your story.
Psychologists say fiction enables us to identify with a character and share their experiences, no matter how spine-tingling or horrendous they may be. The attraction of living through conflict without any harm enables us to enrich our lives, and maybe learn something along the way.
However, placing your character in the middle of the battlefield where he’s likely to be dodging bullets isn’t enough - he has to undergo an internal conflict as well. Maybe his sense of loyalty and duty is put to the test by his discovery of a shocking secret about his senior officer? The journey your character makes isn’t just external (making it off the battlefield), he must also resolve his inner dilemma. Ultimately, he arrives both alive, safe and a better man.
I’m making steady progress with my additions to strand A, and almost finished editing strand B. On the one hand, yeah, but on the other, I wonder if I must work harder. How many hours a day do I spend writing? How many hours on social media? I was thinking of keeping a record for a few days because I’ve had a couple of episodes of socme, (pronounced with a hard c as in sokme and stands for social media) overload and I need to keep a two thirds writing and one third blog, twitter etc. balance.
So far I'm writing two blogs a week – Friday and Monday (approx.) – and I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them.
the space where you slept
lies empty, cold – indented
with your heaviness
My book Gold Dragon Haiku is now available as an ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Here’s the link:
For those of you who are interested in improving your Flash Fiction, Holly Lisle has a free course. Check it out:
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those who write, good writing.
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