Outer conflict is easy, especially when you're writing a character whose go-to solution to problems is "punch in the face". Of course, "punch in the face" is rarely an effective long-term solution for anything, and more often than not, conflict escalates.
course, why a character gets into conflicts in the first place, and how
they react to that escalation are crucial defining points for your main
That is part of why the Twelve Part Outline Structure* has
"Investment" as one of the structural points. The quick version of
that is your character could be able to just walk away from the
conflict, but doesn't. Joining back into the fray is an active choice.
Stepping into the proverbial ring needs to be a source of agency.
what your outer conflict needs to bring to characters: the active
choices they make. Give the reader the sense that the character is
deciding what they're going to do, rather than the story itself dragging
them along by the nose.
All right, I've got a hundred and seven things to do before going to Connooga tomorrow, so I'll see you in the word mines.
*- I will be writing an extended post about that in the near future.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Perils of the Writer: Outer Conflict in Defining Character
Posted by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Labels: Marshall Ryan Maresca
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Fantasy and Science Fiction Novelist, as well as a playwright, living in South Austin with his wife and son. He is the author of the Maradaine Novels:
The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages , The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue , The Holver Alley Crew, The Imposters of Aventil , Lady Henterman's Wardrobe , The Way of the Shield (October 2018) and A Parliament of Bodies (March 2019).
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com