Conflict – Essence of Fiction writing

Write a good mushy novel, where everyone is perfect, everything is immaculate and there is no conflict… I am sure, the reader would hardy make it to page 25, if they don’t already throw the book off before that. Without conflict, a work of fiction is what it shouldn’t be, extremely boring.

Conflicts like creeps need to jump at your readers, and grip them at the most unexpected turn, and make them glued to the pages to know what happens next.  Even better,  give a slight feel of what’s in store, to let them yearn for more!

There are many ways to add conflict. Microscopic view of a few here –

Make the character face internal conflict – turmoil, want, greed, ethics, anything where they are internally torn and don’t know which way to go. This will add internal conflict. This will also emotionally connect the reader to the character.
I make my protagonist fall for a man in a situation where she should hold herself back.  How she reacts determines her future. The inner turmoil she goes through while she makes her decision makes my reader connect with her.

Outer influences on my characters, give them external conflict. The macro world of my novel. The external forces, posing choices for my characters. How they deal with them will again add conflict.

Hooked to a place? My character may have strong affinity to a place and putting them in a situation where they can neither stay there nor leave, will add place conflict. However, they need to have enough reason for that conflict.

Similarly, opposing personalities can add conflict. The interactions, motivations and clashes can add enough conflict. It should not be a war situation all the time, but different personalities at cross-roads with conflicting ideas can add conflict interestingly.

Each chapter should have a conflict at various level. We need to control the pace of the conflict throughout the novel so as not to exhaust the reader and give them a breather… the phases, when everything sails smoothly and looks perfect, before another conflict hits them.