Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I began my writing career turning out short fiction. I quickly published three short stories and thought to myself, “Hey, this writing shit is easy!” NOT!
Fast forward to today.
I still only have three published credits (haven’s submitted anything in, like, forever), but along the way discovered screenwriting. Twelve scripts later, I’m returning to my fiction-writing roots to discover techniques that will enhance my scripts and a great resource for me has been a series of books written by author Holly Lisle (http://hollylisle.com/). It is from her I have learned what conflict truly is and the types of conflict.
Conflict is, simply put, change. And, according to Lisle, there are five (5) different flavors:
• Implied conflict hides critical information from your audience. In her example you have a scene where blood drips through the ceiling and runs down the wall. Somewhere something or someone is bleeding and your audience wants to know who and why.
• Omniscient conflict allows your audience to see important changes take place (the conflict) without knowing who will be affected by the change, or what dominoes the change will knock over.
• Internal conflict forces your character to suffer. Your character wants something and can’t have it, or has something he wants to get rid of, or wants to do something he can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t and… he is tormented by these issues.
• Interpersonal conflict involves your character interacting with at least one other character. Your hero and that other character want things that get in the way of each other’s wants. Think, Protagonist -vs- Antagonist.
• External conflict forces your character to face impersonal, external forces that endanger, frustrate, or impede him, someone close to him, or the world.
Immerse your characters in conflict. Make them suffer. And always,