Yesterday, I discussed the Inciting Incident, the single action that spurs your protagonist into the narrative arc and sets the plot in motion. Throughout the first act (and the second and the third), there will be several definable plot points that function to set in motion a series of events that carry your story along.
Underlying everything, though, is conflict. The primary conflict is the foundation of your story. It is the workhorse of prose, carrying everything else on it’s back through page after page of your novel.
It is conflict at the core of the protagonist, it is conflict in the world she lives in – perhaps one mirrors the other, or is caused by it. It is the deeper intangible that your characters are struggling against. I used The Hunger Games as an example before, so I’ll use it again today – Katniss’ primary purpose is survival – for her family and herself – and in pursuing that purpose she is faced with small, isolated battles (both physical and emotional) that she must fight and overcome. Underneath the whole story, however, is the corrupt government that subjugates its people and forces its children into a battle royale. This is that deep conflict that I’m talking about.
Discovering the struggle at the core of your story can open up a number of new and interesting ways in which your story can move – it has the power to set the mood and the pace of your story. Spend some time thinking about this element of your novel today.
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