Writing Conflict

Writing is the essential distillation of life -- putting the heart of what happens into a seemingly real form but making it all make sense and flow together in a way that LIFE does not. ONLY our imaginations can make up stories that take PAIN and make sense of it.

MAYBE . . .this is why human beings LOVE to TELL STORIES so much and READ them too. We need to make sense of life. MOST of all we need to make sense of the PROBLEMS and the hardships.

Your main character lives through their problems but they try to make sense of their problems too. They try to understand what is happening. So, there is conflict and then there is revelation.
How to write it? (this post comes after much avoidance on my part. I like reading conflict but I had a hard time gearing myself up to write it.)
But as my sister, a performer of Jewish Theater, said recently:
Conflict is Normal. It is Part of Life. Everyone is Aggressive. (and Loving...)
My rewrites were taking forever, because I only could increase the conflict bit by bit, so I decided to look at a writing book or two and found:

by Ben Brady and Lance Lee, (University of Texas Press, 1990)

TV and Film structure HELPS a lot with novel structure: As AGENT, JOHN CUSICK OF GREENHOUSE LITERARY put it: TV helps with "Plot, Scene and Motivation" (all of thes are very important in conflict-heavy scenes) and "is an excellent writer’s tool, not for teaching prose or style, but for examples of immediate, gripping story, and complex, multi-dimensional characters."

A few quotes from the book:
"Your handling of the crisis and climax gives you a chance to achieve something memorable as a dramatist, and by memorable, we mean something very practical and simple: a story worth remembering." (Brady and Lee, p.133)

"Any affective dramatic story plunges its characters into a state of continuous crisis . . .the problem (the protagonist) faces refuses to be solved and forces (him) constantly to renew (his) efforts to overcome it."

"Hamlet has no idea when he comes home that the ghost of his father will ask him for revenge against his murder...a character, then, begins in the dark...he thinks his problems and objectives are one thing but discovers they are something else as he is tested and changed by the conflict."

Characters in moments of crisis have: revelations.
When utter resourcefulness is tested -- the inner core of motivation is revealed!
This is the Epiphany/ the "Ah-Hah" Moment!!
The character MUST discover something and then the reader/audience can discover it too.
(Of course, sometimes this order is reversed but then it is an "outward" discovery not an "inner" discovery . . . )

The mind is what gets us out of the messes we get into, even though we may think we are
using our brute force (ha, ha!) In the end, it is always Wisdom, Insight and Brain Power.
We like protaganists that show us these qualities in ourselves. 



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