CONFLICT AND CHANGE
Once upon a time, in a resource rich kingdom lived a kind and just king with his beautiful queen. Their two gorgeous, well-behaved children were the apple of their eye. The prince and the princess though brought up in the lap of luxury, grew up unspoiled and smart. The prince married the pristine sweet princess of the neighbouring kingdom and since she was a single child, the prince got to rule over her kingdom too.
The princess, meanwhile, fell in love with a prince endowed with such physical and material qualities that no parent in their right mind could object to the match
With the children well-settled the aged King and Queen could now with a peaceful mind undertake the pilgrimage they always wanted to.
Yes, I can see you stifling that yawn.
Have you ever sat in front of the TV watching a daily soap, knowing that you still haven’t finished your daily quota of writing but unable to drag yourself away from the saas-bahu drama with its intricate twists and turns.
A quick glance at the morning headlines in any newspaper will inform you of the latest ills that have befallen the world/ country/city/town.
The above examples contain ample evidence to show that we are eager to read stories of pain, strife and unhappiness. The rest just makes us yawn.
If your protagonist has everything going hunky-dory for her, how long would your reader want to stick around to read her tale, in which nothing actually happens? How interested would we have been in the love story of Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy, if it had been love at first sight for them or in Lisbeth Salander’s story if she had been living a staid and normal life of a software geek?
The strife, tribulations and conflicts faced by our Main Characters and how they overcome them are the hooks that will keep the reader turning the pages of our novel. Go back again and check. Does your MC have any conflict in her life? She does? Good. Now treble it. Make your MC suffer a lot and then some. The more the suffering of the MC the more the reader gets invested in knowing what is going to happen next.
As wise and experienced authors often say, it is conflict that makes a good story and the absence of it is just narration. The transformation of the MC, through trials and tribulations, is what a gripping story is all about.
A few points to make the conflict stronger and viable:
- The Protagonist and Antagonist should be equally powerful. A powerful antagonist will add depth to the MC’s fight against him/her/it.
- Just adding violence or physical obstacles does not add conflict to the story.
- Conflict could be physical or mental.
- The protagonist’s struggle must arouse the reader’s empathy for the reader to continue reading to know what happens next.
- It’s true that the conflict in your story is restricted to your characters but the reader must feel he too has gained a personal insight from the MC struggle to reach his objective.
What are the conflicts that your MC is facing or going to face and how is it going to change him/her?