Reply To: Conflict and the End of Fiction

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Conflict and the End of Fiction Reply To: Conflict and the End of Fiction

Taylor Clogston


Thanks so much for reading! It’s absolutely fine for anyone to join in, the admins just don’t like people tagging everyone under the sun. I appreciate your thoughts, and I’m sorry I didn’t communicate as well as I could’ve.

I don’t mean that some kinds of conflict are better than others. That’s definitely the view some people have (and I gave at least one quote to that effect, about external drama being vital while internal conflict isn’t [something I really don’t agree with]) but I mean that conflict is a subset of contrast and I believe we tend to focus on conflict just because it’s an obvious, useful form of contrast that gets people excited.

But I literally mean, for example, that the contrast between someone being outside in a frigid blizzard and then coming into a warm home is more important than what stands in their way from going from one to the other. It’s just inherently interesting to have characters who are physically, emotionally, and ideologically different. It’s inherently interesting to have a range of different locations in a story. It’s inherently interesting for a narrator to sweep between subdued and excited narrative styles. It’s inherently interesting to alternate between slower and faster-paced scenes. These are things skilled writers figure out over time, but I think deliberately acknowledging this pattern would help so many newer writers to figure out why their stories lack the punch of the stories they enjoy reading.

And obviously when you have contrasting characters, especially in their beliefs, conflict is going to rise between them, and that’s a very useful thing to direct the motion of a story forward.

"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

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