Friday, 12 July 2013

Conflict in fiction

Act Two makes up the bulk of the story. This is the Action Story. It is here that the hero tries to solve the problem, save the maiden, complete his journey, whatever. The problem itself may shift or change as the story progresses. Little stays static in real life, and we can use that in fiction. Problems metamorphose into larger problems, or twist and become different problems.

This is where the tension must rise as the problem is faced and overcome in a series of mini climax up to the ultimate climax which resolves everything. It is in Act Two that the story events, even if they're changing, need to be linked to each other. Think cause and effect - there always has to be a link, even if we know random acts take place in real life. Good Fiction rarely depends on luck. There has to be internal logic and structure. Each plot-point must rise out of the previous point. After each climax there will be a small lull and then the tension begins to rise again.

Remember that if you have several story threads running through your novel - and I have! - then each thread needs its own internal logic, and the tension must rise there also, in the same way. Importantly all the threads need to link into a logical ending. Now this is where I think I have some of my threads rising jerkily. I wanted to show the two steps forward, one step back, sequence that so often happens in Real Life, but sometimes things got out of sequence as a consequence. This is something I must check.

Rising side by side with the Action Story is the Emotional Journey, and I'll write about that next time.

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