Without conflict there is no story, just a news report.
Exciting stories always have conflict. The more conflict, the better. What does conflict do? it gives your main character a challenge to overcome. It gives her something to worry about, think about, react to.
In The Thwarting of Mr. Dingsnapple, I set up a variety of conflicts for Sweetie to overcome.
Here are some of her conflicts:
- Stop Mr. Dingsnapple from taking her eggs
- Outsmart Cleopatra and Tut to keep them from finding her nest
- Struggle with Cleopatra and Tut after they discover her nest under the porch
- Escape from Mr. Dingsnapple’s cage
don’t want to tell the rest, read the book and find them!
Set up a worksheet with the following information on it:
Fill a page with this chart repeatedly. While you are brainstorming your story, it will help you identify conflicts and how each character reacts to it.
- Print out a copy of the page and carry it with you
- When you think of a conflict, jot it on the issue line
- If you fill your page with issues, print another
back and start filling in the details of each issue
Let’s take a look at how it works:
- Issue: (Name the conflict here)
- Sweetie wants to hatch her eggs
- Main character POV: (What is your main character’s Point Of View on the issue?)
- She is thrilled at the chance to hatch her very first clutch. Hatching her eggs is the most important thing in her life.
- Opponent POV: (This is the character who opposes, or causes problems for your main character.)
- Mr. Dingsnapple has a chance to make extra money from the sale of the goose eggs
- Cleopatra and Tut – Mr. Dingsnapple may give them a reward if they show him where Sweetie is hiding her nest
- Arguments: (Jot down a little information or possibly things the characters might say)
- Mr. Dingsnapple – Good! Here are four more eggs. I need to gather 100 eggs to sell within the next couple of months. I can’t let any eggs go.
- Sweetie – if Mr. Dingsnapple takes my eggs, I’ll never have a chance to have babies!
- Cleopatra and Tut - who does Sweetie think she is? We don’t get to hatch our eggs, why should she be able to hatch her eggs? Besides, who cares about stupid old eggs, anyway?
- Action: (What action happens?) Action is extremely important. This is where you jot down the kind of actions your characters will do.
- Sweetie tries to hide her nest
- Mr. Dingsnapple searches the zoo for her nest
- Cleopatra and Tut search for her nest
Once you’ve filled out this form, you can use it as a guide to flesh out your story.
Another word or two about conflict:
- Conflict is directly related to action.
- You cannot have too much conflict and action in your story.
- Try to make something happen on each page.