Today, we have author Angelina Windsor blogging about the magic of conflict. Check out her new book, The Seventh Son, available here:
The Magic of Conflict part one:
Writing has been a mammoth journey for this thankful author. Begun as a way to overcome grief and live within a story, it has come to mean so much more. It’s meant new friendships, new opportunities and a chance to learn so much for which I will be forever grateful. Today I want to discuss the topic of conflict and suspense.
To quote James Scott Bell from the book Conflict and Suspense: “Fiction is not reality! Fiction is the stylized rendition of reality for an emotional effect.” He goes on to explain how to bring the type of conflict and suspense to a novel that will keep readers turning the pages, the necessary wanted outcome for any writer who truly wants readership. Because as so many authors have put it in one way or another, reality is boring, it’s not drama and has to be avoided at all costs. As Hitchcock’s axiom holds true that a great story is life with all the dull parts removed. Life can be boring written word-for-word, fiction should not be.
And how to keep the boring bits out? Frustration is key. As Julie Eberhart Painter as so astutely put it, “Everything that can go wrong, should go wrong.” As a way of turning the character back from what he or she wants or expects you add the dynamic of every scene.
Of course, the crux of your story is confrontation between the hero or lead and the force or forces that oppose them. One great example is Randle Patrick Murphy versus Nurse Ratched in One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
And what is great conflict without great characters. Your characters need grit, wit and it (magnetism) to have staying power. They must emotionally resonate with your readers. Give them unusual quirky qualities if you want them remembered. Remember, no human is perfect. Far from it!
In a way a novel is about death for the best dramatic effect. Real imminent death or professional death or in the case of most romance novels, psychological death. This is what resonates with your fellow humans.
Magic of Conflict part two:
The stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be about death of which there are three kinds to choose from:
(1) Physical Death: The stakes are obviously highest here. The main character has to win in the arena of conflict or he’s a goner! Most thrillers are written with this being what’s at stake. Maybe the hero has a secret that the bad guys don’t want revealed or he’s in a business that leads to trouble. But it’s the highest stake and causes the most tension and suspense for the reader which makes a book a page turner if well written.
(2) Professional Death: What is on the line in this scenario to drive a novel forward is the hero’s or heroine’s calling in life is under attack. Her career might be over, her future a cloud, her life’s work a failure. High stakes indeed to die professionally.
(3) Psychological Death: This is all about the personal death, dying on the inside. The stakes can go as high as suicide, though that’s at the extreme end of it. This type of death elevates the emotions of fiction like no other aspect. It is the key to all romances because no one wants to miss out on their soul mate. A writer needs to be very good at creating the illusion of imminent psychological death because of the happy-ever-after caveat. And what they are suffering about has to matter to them enough, and make the kind of sense that it will become a page turner which is our ultimate goal, I believe, as writers.
*All these “deaths” have to be chosen with the near-end in mind, bringing your story’s conflict to its crisis point which is what your readers are waiting for. Keeping it strong and life changing will make your story matter and give your readers something or someone to root for.
About the Author:
Angelina J. Windsor, Sugar & Spice and Everything…Naughty, hails from Canada. Married to the love of her life, she has combined her love of romance and the paranormal with her interest in exploring highly charged erotica in a historical setting in her newest book, Seventh Son, first book in the Dragonstone Wolves Series.
A love of reading and writing sent her on her life’s quest to connect with others over the written word, “for having our voices heard is akin to sharing our souls”. She hopes her characters will touch your heart and help you escape the bonds of this Earth as she surrounds you with an otherworldly experience where werewolves and goddesses roam freely and break all the rules. She loves to be approached about the journey of writing.
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