Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Plotting and Conflict

The two things I wanted help with as I headed into DiAnn Mills Intensive Fiction Mentoring clinic. And judging from the way my brain is whirling, I got the help I needed.

Plotting and conflict go hand-in-hand. Conflict can bring you through the most difficult scenes. It makes the dreaded sagging middle a thing of the past. It helps pacing. In short, conflict is an author's best friend. So why do I shun it?

In reality, I hate conflict. I don't like to make waves. I want things to move along nice and easy. But as a writer, someone who wants their reader to turn page after page, I can't afford that. I have to (sniff, sniff) hurt these wonderful characters who are like real people to me. They're family. I love them.

As I watched DiAnn layout her design for plotting, the expression "oh what a tangled web we weave" seemed very appropriate. This character tied to that character and how they all wove together all because of conflict. The light bulb went on. The wheels began to turn like they'd been hit with a shot of WD-40.

I have lots of work to do now. Some things will change. My characters will hurt. But they will be better for it. They will grow and change. And if I can make one person want to be better because of the pain they've experienced with my characters, then I've done good.

Conflict? Plotting? How do you feel about those two key ingredients?


  1. Mindy, I'm so glad your trip went well! It sounds wonderful.

    You know, I could have written your post myself. I struggle with conflict. I'd love to hear a summary of what got your wheels turning once you come up for air. :)


  2. Ditto with Missy! I'm glad your trip went well. It sounds fabulous. A great learning time.
    I struggle in this area also. But I'm learning to be meaner to my characters. Make them suffer!!!!

    (As long as they have a happy ending!)

  3. I know all about those sagging middles. Suffer characters! Suffer!
    But that's easier said than done.

    Yet to have a page turner it is a must... Glad you had fun. Share more of what you learned, okay?

  4. Those conflicts serve as the catalyst to invoke emotion. We do need to plot more conflict in the middle of our stories to keep readers turning those pages. Sounds like a great trip.