Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Breakout Premise - Part 4

Inherent Conflict

Donald Maass suggests one way to create conflict in your story is to place it somewhere that isn't safe. Generally, suburbs are considered comfortable, not conflicted. But a courtroom? A mountain cabin in the middle of a blizzard?

Like many of you, my prayers are settling over the people of California now as they battle fire. Have you put yourself in their shoes? Imagined their fear and pain and anger? Their faith? Talk about conflict.

Maass stresses: "If your place is lacking trouble, dig deeper. It is there. Your job is to bring it out. Drilling into deep wells of conflict is a fundamental step in constructing a breakout premise."

As a suspense novelist, you may think your reader should automatically feel the conflict because of the idea of your story. But remember, until you write it, it doesn't exist. Don't run from conflict. Create it.

It's all better with friends.

Next: Originality


  1. Don't run from conflict. Great advice. Basically, be mean to your characters!! :)

  2. And you know, C.J., that can be so darned hard to do when they're your friends.

  3. LOL. Maybe I'm a bad friend then. I never seem to have trouble being hard on them!