Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Character Internal Conflict

Hola wonderful writing friends!

So, you might have noticed last month was total radio silence, and I'm pretty sure ALL of you know why. Lol. Pitch Wars ms reading for my mentee. Oh, and a few lovely new clients who have amazingly good books for me to work on, too.

That all said, I thought it was time I put up a writing tips post. This week, I want to look at the internal conflict your characters will struggle through. Now, it's important to note that it's not only your protagonist who will have an internal conflict(s). So will your antagonist and secondary characters, and it's good to bear this in mind as it will help you to make all of your characters fully rounded.




There are various types of internal conflict and each has its own level of power. Here are some ideas for you to consider:


* Deep, dark secrets are a wonderful way to create internal conflict. What does your character never want to reveal? What happens if they have to reveal it to get what they want or to help someone they love? Using secrets as a motivator is a great way to get your readers hooked.

* An internal need that contradicts an external goal. What happens if your character has a desperate need for something in order to feel complete but they can't get it because they have an external goal they need to achieve? That kind of conflict can create an almost impossible choice: another page turner!

* Give your character a moral dilemma - what do they want and what do they have to do to get it? How much are they willing to sacrifice to get what they want? How far across the line are they willing to step? Really push your characters into their most uncomfortable zones. If they're not outside their comfort zone, you're not writing hard enough. Force your character to make the choices they don't want to make.




* Use distrust. Making your character not believe others makes it hard for them to sort out what's right and what's wrong. If they don't trust themselves (mentally, emotionally, physically) then all the better. If your character can't find their bearings, it makes for great internal conflict.

* Let your character know something they'd much rather not know. Do they know a friend is cheating on his wife? Did his wife just ask him? Is there a business deal about to go south but your character can't tell his friend who invested because of confidentiality agreements? Whatever it is, make your character sweat!


When dealing with internal conflict, there are a myriad ways you can go, so really dig deep into your character and their life and see what they have to offer. This is the time where you use your back story - in your planning, not in the majority of your book!

Good luck with your character conflicts!!!

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