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Conflict By Kate Walker #Giveaways

Let's welcome UK based author Kate Walker as she talks about Conflict. She came with a kindle copy giveaway of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance


Connect with Kate Walker on the web:
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 Over to Kate now...

CONFLICT


When I’m teaching the romance writing courses I run, one of the elements of  the books that seems to cause people a lot of problems is  that word CONFLICT.  People seem to get tangled up in just  what it is; whether it’s external or internal; what makes a conflict t strong enough.


Conflict is not just your characters arguing and opposing each other. Conflict in a romantic novel is something that keeps coming between your characters, driving them away from each other when really they want to be together for the rest of their lives.



Without conflict, you won’t have a story. Your characters would meet, fall into each others’ arms  and live happily ever after from then onwards. There is no emotional tension in such a story. No emotional punch, because that comes from the overcoming of odds against the relationship. It is the moments of conflict and their resolution that bring about the emotion that we're trying to get into a book



Conflict  can be of two types:



External conflict

This is when something or someone outside of the central characters causes the problem that keeps them apart.



 Internal conflict

Internal conflict arises from the characters' personalities and  beliefs, and affects their reactions to the other person. They are usually emotional in origin and are resolved by the characters learning more about each other or themselves.

In a romance, this second sort of conflict, the internal one , is much more important than what is going on outside of your characters. 



But conflict has to be worthwhile - it has to be something that would really matter, something worth taking the risk of losing the love of your life for.  So your conflict needs to be  believable, one that your hero and heroine really care about enough to keep fighting over it, keep hurting over it. Something that really means the ruin of their love if they can't resolve it.



Very few reasons for conflict, however powerful, can actually last through the whole of a book without changing, adapting, developing, or just varying in tone and emphasis. The best   sorts of conflicts are those that have layers of involvement, and as each one is dealt with and peeled away, it reveals another complication, another aspect of the same problem, or a different development of it, going deeper and deeper until finally the central core of the problem is exposed, ready for you characters to tackle it.



Not every conflict needs to be a major one and not ever problem is one that lasts through the book. You can vary the pace and the intensity of your story by using long-term problems and short-term problems. Short-term problems are usually what catapult the hero and heroine together, putting them in a situation in which they have to work out their emotional (long-term) problems.



This pacing and staging of the revelations that make up the conflict adds to the suspense and the tension that keeps the reader turning the page. It also has the bonus of increasing and building on the sexual tension between the hero and heroine as they want to be together but feel more and more that it will be a mistake.



You need to make the conflict between your characters one that is strong, understandable and believable.   But it also needs to be sympathetic, specially if you’re writing about some really strong conflict . You risk really alienating readers from your hero or heroine if you don’t justify that conflict and make it believable. To be justified, it needs to be specific and directly connected to the people  your character is in conflict with.  



So what you need to do is to understand your hero and heroine so well that you know that this is exactly what they would do and WHY. If you have that clear in your head – your characters’ personal reasons for doing anything then it will convince even someone who thinks, ‘Oh come on, no one would ever do that!’ – But if  they think, well I would never do that but I see exactly why Mary – or Joe – or whoever would then it you’ve justified it.



Perhaps you’ve had a criticism on you story where an editor says that there should be more at stake.  They mean more at stake for that particular individual. So it doesn’t mean  that – say she should owe him more money than you’ve said is at stake, (though any scenario where a heroine is forced into something for some measly amount of money would be unbelievable in a time when the banks would offer a loan etc) but it means that this would cause more distress/ have a more devastating effect on her life. So  it might affect not just her but her father’s health, her mother’s reputation, her brother’s liberty, her sister’s chance of carrying a child to term – or just her own desperate need to please her parents once in her life because . . . . anything that adds emotional pressure –  that ups the emotional stakes.  And emotions always deepen the conflict because emotions aren’t rational – that’s why they’re emotions!



So then if you have 2 characters who are in a position where the reader believes that for them this is the only way they would go, then your story and the conflict in  it will convince fully. So, whatever the conflict you’ve  come up with, if you want to make it believable, sustainable and packing the right emotional punch,  look at your characters and see WHY they would do whatever they do – it’s their story after all.

Kate Walker also has a new release out:
Olivero's Outrageous Proposal
One problem… 

For Dario Olivero, Alyse Gregory was supposed to be a way to reap revenge against his estranged half brother. But Alyse carries the key to the family acceptance he's always craved and, realizing just how much trouble she's in, he can't turn away.

One solution! 

A marriage proposal is not what Alyse was expecting. But this deliciously sexy Italian will resolve her family's debts if she becomes his convenient wife… Her head says no but her body begs her to say yes.

With an intensity rivaling the Tuscan sun, their mutual desire soon escalates to something inconvenient, creating a whole new dilemma!
Buy at:






33 comments:

  1. Conflict is needed in every book, from every genre. It is a fact of life - for all of us.
    I am also always impressed when characters find ways to live with conflict - there isn't a resolution for everything.

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    1. I agree with you so much. It's conflict that creates a story and moves it along. And yes, there are some conflicts/problems that can't have a magical solution - the resolution is for the characters to find a way they can live with that

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  2. Good writers have the ability to torture their characters, in a manner of speaking. Just as characters are about to find resolution, the deliciously devious writers zap 'em with another problem or two. At least, in most romances, there's usually a happy ever after waiting at the end.

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    1. Hello Susan - that's just the phrase I would use myself. I love 'torturing' my characters and so many readers love to see them put through the mill before they reach their happy ever after. I think it means they feel they've(the characters ) earned that HEA

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  3. Such great points! I love some good conflict in a novel, and completely agree that if I can't at least understand it, I can't buy it :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting Meradeth - so glad the post interested you. Like you, I love a good strong conflict in what I read - that's why I write what I do. But it's vital that the reader sees that this conflict really matters and is not just put in there as a plot device to keep the characters apart

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  4. Great points! As an emerging writer, I find conflict the most difficult to get a handle on. But I'm getting stronger & putting my characters through much more because of it :)

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    1. Thanks Jemi - you're not alone. So many of my students find it tricky to develop a strong, believable conflict. I always ask myself - how can I make this worse? For both characters. And if they are basking questions of themselves why did I do this? How do I get out of this? How can I change things? then they're really involved and making important decisions that affect the conflict

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  5. Great post. Love this: conflict between your characters one that is strong, understandable and believable. Yes! And it shouldn't be something that can be resolved (or should have been resolved) with a simple question.

    My hubby is a real peace lover, and until I started writing, he just couldn't get why all the problems in stories. lol I told him when the problems and the conflict ended, the story was over.

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    1. Hello Donna - your post made me smile. My husband would have said that too. He doesn't read things with deep emotions/conflicts in them. And it is so important that the conflict can't /should be resolved with one good conversation - that makes me grit my teeth and want to make the characters just sit down and talk!

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  6. Great post. Conflict makes for great reading.

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    1. Hi Kelly - and thank you. I read for great conflict so I suppose it's only natural that I should write strong conflict too. :-)

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  7. Thanks so much for this great breakdown, Kate. I've always thought that if you don't have conflict, you don't have a great story. Kelly, thanks for hosting! :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting Karen - I'm so pleased you found the post useful. I think we're all agreed that a good story needs a strong conflict - but of course the important thing is that the emphasis needs to be on that vital internal/emotional conflict.

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  8. Great post Kate. Conflict is hard for we peace lovers, but it has to be done...sigh....

    Hi Kelly!

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  9. Great post Kate. Conflict is hard for we peace lovers, but it has to be done...sigh....

    Hi Kelly!

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    1. Hi Denise (twice!) ;-) Lovely to 'see' you again. I know what you mean - I put my hero and heroine through all sorts of things that would just finish me - but then I know I'm going to give them that Happy Ever After ending so they don't suffer for ever.

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  10. Hi Kate

    I love reading a story with some good conflict in it these type keep me turning the pages

    Congrats on this one I am really looking forward to diving into it :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Hi Helen - great to see you here too! You're right - conflict keeps a reader turning the page. I love to have my reader thinking 'how are they going to get out of this one!' I do hope you enjoy Olivero's Outrageous Proposal. It's had some lovely reviews so I'm happy!

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  11. Interesting post and I can see Katie’s book being very helpful to writers of romance. I’ve always wanted to do a writing course, but my punctuation and spelling are so dire I would be lost without my word processor. :-)

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    1. Hi Barbara. Let me reassure you a bit - punctuation and spelling can always be taught. It's the writer's voice that can't! So if you write a great story, the grammar bits can always come later! I see you live in the UK like me - maybe one day you'll be able to come on one of my courses. Keep a lookout on my web page : http://www.kate-walker.com and the Events page if you're interested.

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  12. Those are all great comments about conflict. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Sherry - thanks for dropping by. I'm glad my comments helped

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  13. Conflict is essential! I remember writing short stories when I was around 9 or 10 years old, and some of them didn't have conflicts. They were just conversations between kids with an abrupt ending. But I've obviously grown out of that, and I really enjoy a good conflict in a story. Great post!

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    1. Ahh, Shelley - you made me smile with your comments about your 9 year old self writing - I used to be like that with the stories I wrote as a child. Then I discovered stories with a strong conflict between the main characters and I was hooked!

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  14. So, so true! Without conflict, a story would be rather boring.

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    1. Good morning Cherie - well, it is morning here! I agree - I tell would-be writers that a short, happy, easy romance and HEA is what we want in real life - but in stories we want the characters to suffer!

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  15. Although I don't write romance books- I enjoyed this post and learned a lot. It does make sense that there has to be a conflict that plays out throughout most of the book. That is what keeps us reading- to see how it will all end. :) Best of luck to Kate! Interesting to see the two different covers.
    ~Jess

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    1. Thank you Jess. Yes, although this is basically aimed at romance writers, the points about conflict apply to any sort of popular fiction - the tension and emotion is what keeps the reader turning the pages. Those 2 covers are interesting - aren't they? I'm always intrigued to see what the USA and UK come up with.

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  16. Hello, Kate! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Hi there 'Squid'! Thank you for visiting.

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  17. This is a wonderful post on conflict and Kate's book looks like an amazing resource to have.

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    1. Good morning Medeia and thank you., I'm so pleased the tips on Conflict are helpful to you - and I certainly hope that the 12 Point Guide is an amazing resource - that's why I wrote it - to help people.

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