Blogs by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
What is conflict and why is it Important to your Story?
7/18/2012 6:29:24 AM
If you want to write an outstanding children’s story, you need to include conflict as one of your elements to success. What does that mean? You need a problem to solve. That doesn’t mean your characters have to be involved in a knock down drag out fight. But it’s also important that your main character is engaged in solving the problem. I’ll give you some examples of what I’m trying to convey:
•Let’s imagine that Kayla is the best dancer in school: Kayla wants to try out for the school play. She’s been practicing for weeks preparing for the audition. But, Susie takes Kayla aside and intimidates her. She promises to tell everyone in school that Kayla, an honor student, got a “C” on her History test. Kayla blushes with embarrassment and pretends to have a headache so she can skip the audition so Susie gets the part. There’s some degree of conflict but Kayla doesn’t help solve it.
•Another Scenario; Kayla reconsiders: Suppose that this time Kayla is so nervous and insecure at the audition, she thinks she’s going to faint. But she remembers that this is her one chance to prove that she’s talented enough to get the lead in the play. She summons every bit of courage she has and dances in the audition. At first, she’s nervous, but she overcomes her fears and gets the part. Your readers will applaud Kayla for conquering her fear. They’ll be rooting for her, and that’s what you want as an author. You want your readers to identify with your characters. I hope these suggestions help you to write an amazing story.
•Can there be more than one kind of conflict? Yes, there are internal and external conflicts. An example of an external conflict is Kayla and Susie’s confrontation. Susie is trying to move the story in a different direction. So what about internal conflict? That’s where the character has to make an important decision, the way Kayla did when she fought through her fear of performing. She realized that was her only path to success.
• Be sure you introduce enough conflict, or struggle, in your story.
• Have the main character involved in resolving the problem.
• If you introduce internal and external conflict, your story will be more interesting for your readers.
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