Plot, Plot, and more Plot! Part Two: Plot Means Conflict
All plots contain an element of conflict. Conflict is also explained within Module One of the Write Storybook For Children Course.
Without it you will not have a story to write. In this context, conflict simply means opposition to the characters’ goals. This does not necessarily mean aggression or argument.
Life without difficulties may seem like an attractive proposition, but it would make a very boring story. Conflict is central to any good plot, which you care to recall. Without this element nothing of any importance would happen. Unless there are obstacles to overcome and difficulties to encounter, there can be no character development, no incidents to relate and no satisfactory conclusion.
Conflict is the medium by which the writer projects and develops the characters, particularly the central character. Only by using conflict can the writer introduce the main incidents, which will affect the development of the characters’ personalities.
So plot means conflict. The central character must be faced with obstacles and they must be able to overcome them. Not by coincidence, or an act of God, chance, parental intervention, or ‘it was all a dream’, but by the character themselves.
It must never be obvious how the obstacles will be overcome. It should appear that the obstacles are too great for our protagonist, so that their eventual triumph comes as a surprise, even though the reader knows, deep down, that this will be the case.
Your success in plotting depends upon your ability to construct a plot in such a way as to create an element of suspense. The reader must be anxious on two counts, firstly to find out what happens next, and secondly for the safety and welfare of the central character.
This must be done without the reader really being able to guess the outcome.
We continue with: Plot, Plot and More Plot in Part Three: Conflict With What? where we will be looking at what type of conflict you can add to your plot.
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