Don't Treat Conflict As Monolithic

In the most recent edition of the Glimmer Train bulletin, I loved this article by Cary Groner on conflict. Here’s a small snippet:

I’ve been surprised, when reading books about fiction writing, that such short shrift is often given to the decisions writers make about conflict and its levels. We hear a lot about voice, point of view, characterization, place, structure, theme, and other issues; but when conflict is discussed, it’s rarely treated as particularly complex. You’ll read, almost as an afterthought: ‘Of course, your story must have conflict,’ as if it appears in unvarying form in every narrative. But conflict is no more monolithic than love is; and in the same way that love arrives in multifarious forms in both life and literature, so does conflict.

Read more of this excellent article over at the Glimmer Train site!

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2 thoughts on “Don't Treat Conflict As Monolithic

  1. Janice Hardy

    Wonderful article. I didn’t get conflict when I started writing, and it wasn’t until it clicked for me that my stories really started coming together. Now, if I can’t pinpoint the conflict (both internal and external) in a scene, I know right away something is wrong. It doesn’t have to be end of the word conflict, but somewhere my protag had better be making a hard choice about something.

  2. P A Wilson

    I’ve always thought that conflict comes in different forms. Yes there needs to be an overarching conflict, but you also need the little conflicts throughout. Each scene needs conflict and it might not be related to the main plot conflict. All of the main characters need some form of conflict.

    Thanks for the post.