Monday, March 29, 2010
March Madness, Part 4--This Could Be A Problem
We've talked about player goals and motivation for achieving those goals. Now, let's talk conflict. I have to admit that I would have been thrilled if Bulter had rolled over and let K-State win instead of stomping on them, but the NCAA tournament wouldn't be much fun to watch if the team you are rooting for doesn't face some formidable opponents. In fact, if the stakes don't escalate after each round and draw you in game after game, you might skip the whole thing and wait to hear about the outcome on the news. Besides that, players might get lazy and think winning the championship will be easy. I'd even bet that the coach builds up the opponent just to keep his players on their toes. As authors, we have to do the same thing with our characters. We have to give them formidable forces that stand in the way of their goals. We have to raise the stakes and escalate the conflict, chapter after chapter, until we take them all the way. The plot of my manuscript has inherent conflict, but that wasn't enough. This is another area I've spent a lot of time on during rewrites. I had to build up my antagonist to an in-your-face level so that my protagonist wouldn't get lazy. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm satisfied yet. As I finalize my revisions, I plan on beefing this up even more. Do you keep your characters on their toes by constantly raising the stakes? If so good for you. Your audience will love you for it. Join me here on Wednesday for a discussion about inaction vs. action.