Monday, April 1, 2013

Conflict Builds Character

Sometimes the best way to explore your main character is to observe how they deal with conflict.

While fight scenes and arguments are interactive, and allow you to create dialogue for the main character, a scolding can be even more instructive about your main character's personality.

How does your main character react when they're supposed to stand quietly and accept correction, derision, or disappointment?

Writing up a good, long lecture serves two purposes:
  1. You get to explore your main character's reaction to the scolding, and
  2. The lecture helps you outline other choices the main character could have made, and examine why they chose the ill-fated one instead.
Try writing a scene for the prompt below, but don't write about physical or verbal conflict. Focus on the main character's inner turmoil. Is the main character torn up by the lecture, or bored? How does the main character plan to avoid hearing speeches like this in the future (ear plugs, a ready escape plan, or actually doing better next time?)

Writing Prompt: He stood up straight, staring directly ahead, and grunting or nodding whenever it seemed appropriate. It didn't matter that he'd been right, it didn't even matter that he'd done well... all she cared about was how it looked, and it looked bad for the company...

Have fun, and keep writing!

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