Tuesday, April 5, 2011

c is for conflict

Conflict is one of three necessary features of a story. As Janet Burroway* says, "Only trouble is interesting." After all, how interested would you be in a story of a vampire and a mortal who, after being turned against his will, is just thrilled to have Lestat as his new best friend (Interview with the Vampire), or a beautiful girl who marries a farmboy and lives happily ever after (The Princess Bride), or a wizard who unleashes something horrific but suffers no consequences (A Wizard of Earthsea). What readers want is a war, something worth fighting over, and the fight has to escalate until the last, final battle. Afterwards, everyone walks away (or is carried away, depending...) and the conflict ends with a "significant and permanent change - which is the definition, in fiction, of a resolution."


A Wizard of Earthsea is classic Fantasy written by a master, Ursula LeGuin - oh, to be that good...


ps tomorrow is the last first impression of the month - an action packed thriller that reminded me a little of Miami Vice. Then it's back to a-z until the end of the month.

Burroway, Janet, Writing Fiction - A Guide to the Narrative Craft (fourth edition), Harper Collins, 1996, p. 31-39.

7 comments:

  1. Conflict definitly drives a story onwards!!

    Take care
    x

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  2. I am ALWAYS looking for new reading prospects.
    Thankx.

    In return, I suggest the Kitty series by Carrie Vaughn.

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  3. Hi, Good post...I am a long time fan of science fiction, along with historical fiction, and mysteries. Thanks. Ruby

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  4. This book is sort of like the bible of fantasy to me. And YES! conflict is required for anything of interest to unfold!

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  5. I MUST read that book :) Great post! I know we need conflict but sometimes I just want to give my poor characters a break and let them sleep on the sofa for a chapter or two...

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  6. Earthsea is truly a masterpiece. And conflict. Very very necisary indeed. No rest for the protagonist.

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