No conflict? No novel!

No conflict? No novel!

There is no novel without the conflict of the characters.

This is the greatest lesson I learned from the fundamental The Art of Dramatic Writing of Lajos Egri.

And I finally understood why my stories didn’t work: my characters didn’t have a clear conflict that pushed them to action!

But, what is exactly a conflict?

A conflict is a desire to be realized

Let’s take an example.

The main character of our novel is a boy who dreams of being an actor.

But the boy belongs to a very rich family that owns an important company. And, of course, he has already been designated by his father as his successor at the helm of the company.

The boy’s father is a very strong person and hates when things do not go as he has established.

In this case, the conflict is clear: will the boy succeed in realizing his dream against his father’s will?

A conflict is a reaction to an external situation

Let’s take another example.

This time the main character of our novel is a girl who founded an innovative startup for recycling waste.

The girl lives in Paris and after many years of loneliness, she finally fell in love with a kind boy who owned a small bookshop in the city center.

One day her startup is noticed by a venture capital fund that is willing to finance the project as long as the girl moves to the Silicon Valley.

The conflict is: what will the girl do? Will she choose the startup or the kind boy?

A conflict is an inner need!

In this case, the main character of our story is a very shy boy who wants to have new friends.

His neighbor, an elderly singer, organizes a singing course for high school students and offers him to join: it will an excellent opportunity to meet new people.

The conflict is: will the boy win the fear of singing in public?

There is no novel without conflict

As we could see in these examples, the conflict of the characters is fundamental, because it is the driving force of the novel.

What if the rich family boy had been happy to take control of the family business or the girl had not received the offer from the venture capital fund or the shy boy had had so many friends? Simple: we would not have a story.

Or at least we would not have an interesting story to tell.

Therefore, the greater the stake for the character, the more interesting our story is.

The nature of a novel

So conflict is fundamental because it leads a character to action and to change the condition of things.

A novel is the story of a change in the condition of things and of the evolution of characters during this process.

Character development

bibisco is a novel writing software focused on character development, precisely because it is designed starting from this principle: there is no novel without the conflict of the characters.

For this reason, in bibisco, for each main character, there are two specific cards to develop the conflict of the characters and their evolution throughout the story.

No conflict? No novel!

Conclusion

The conflict of the characters is fundamental because it is the driving force of the novel. Without conflict, we would not have a story.

Use bibisco for the development of your characters and to identify their conflict.

This is the first step to write your great novel.

P.S.: Need some more advice to write your novel? Check out this great guide by Jerry Jenkins!

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