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NaNoReVisMo-ing Tip

The Intern touched on a very important thing to be on the lookout for when revising: conflict.

This is probably one of the most beneficial things this newbie has learned over the past year (That's right folks. It hasn't been all fun and first-drafting over here for me). In really evaluating one of my WIP, I noticed a few things. The characters were there. The main plot was there. But it was still lacking that page-turning drive, and after some beta comments and really studying up on how plot works, I realized there was quite a bit of my story that could have been cut without changing the outcome. Essentially, these sections were humorous, self-indulgent writing or splotches of backstory that I hadn't successfully woven into the story. These sections had no conflict at their core.

Conflict essentially occurs when your character, wanting or needing something, goes against a person and or thing standing in their way of achieving it.

If you were to break your story down, every section should consist of some sort of 'mini-goal' that your character is trying to achieve. Not all conflict will consist of an argument or an epic battle scene. Quite the opposite, really. Conflict could be as simple as trying to find information, receive support or affirmation of feelings, etc., and in seeking this out, they hit a roadblock that keeps them from achieving that goal.

Often, we focus on the bigger picture in writing--the main goal of the story and its subplots. But it's just as important to dig down deeper to make sure at the core of every page there is an evident, underlying need or desire that the character is working to fulfill.
Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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  1. Very true! I definitely made the mistake of "conflict = sh** blowing up" with my first first draft.

  2. haha, Michelle.

    Good advice. Regular conflict is one of those things I always make sure is firmly in place in the second draft - if there's not enough in the first. :)

  3. Conflict is such a huge part of stories. Great post.

  4. Funny you should mention that. Book One is currently with an editor and he'd given it to one of his other people to look over real quickly (to answer some questions I'd had)and the guy made the comment that Draven's an informant, but he wasn't seeing her do any "informing". And I thought, "Well, that's kind of important. Y'know, the whole informing thing." LOL.

  5. Great tip!

    I'll only add a reminder to make sure that conflict escalates as the story unfolds. As the stakes get higher and the risk is greater that our protagonist won't reach her/his goal, we don't want to forget to turn up the conflict as we turn up the heat!


  6. Jennifer Crusie posted about this on her blog with an a really helpful conflict chart to help you during the outlining/editing process.

  7. Really good post. I think I needed to hear this one.

  8. I love you for posting this, Amanda, as I am now embarking on my own NaNoReWriMo. :)


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Item Reviewed: NaNoReVisMo-ing Tip Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah