Yes, I know, two in one week is ridiculous but after Friday’s lightbulb moment, I kind of had another. I wanted to use the whole action/reaction/consequence thing on my other WIPs but first I had to really concentrate on the essential conflict of the h&h. And it was as I was doing this that I had another realisation (cue drum roll, please):
Conflict doesn’t necessarily need to be based on bad things happening in the past!
Cool eh? Now, you guys may already know this and be thinking, ‘yeah, duh!’ but up till this point I have been giving my characters all manner of dead families/fiancees/babies or whatever tragedy is popular right now, purely so they would not want a relationship. The thing I suddenly got was that the point is not that the h&h don’t want a relationship at all, they just don’t want a relationship with a particular person! Why don’t they? Because that person threatens everything they believe up till that point in time. And it’s only when they come into contact with that person, that there is conflict. Conflict, as Michelle is always telling me, happens in the present not the past.
Clear as mud? For example, I’ve finally figured out the essential conflict of my Kate and Alex story: for Alex, home is where the heart is. For Kate heart is where the home is. Neither of them have any problem with this UNTIL they meet. And as soon as they meet, there is conflict because each challenges the other. In order to resolve this, Alex must learn that having roots isn’t a bad thing and Kate must learn that home isn’t necessarily embodied in one place.
Now, I had Alex having lost a fiancee etc, but really, in order for him to believe that home is where the heart is, I don’t need any of that. Maybe just the fact that he moved around a lot as a kid is enough. And maybe he was quite happy with this state of affairs. But it’s only when he comes into contact with Kate that he feels threatened about it. And voila, instant conflict.
So all in all I feel rather pleased with myself about this. Especially as I have now got real and believable conflicts for all my WIPs. Now all I have to do is plan the stories using action/reaction/consequence, completely rewrite all of them, and Robert’s your father’s brother. 😉
Oh yeah, and I signed up for NaNo too. Need to write my next sub, rather imaginatively titled Cat and Sean. Anyone else?