Why You Should Write With More Conflict

Do you like TV Shows?

I believe that tv show writers are some of the best writers out there. Have you ever wished that you’d be as good of a writer as some of them?

Do you want to write so well that you pull your readers into the story from the VERY BEGINNING without them knowing?

If you answered yes, I know a few pointers that may help you!

First:

Think of the TV shows you are drawn into

I am drawn to The Walking Dead, 24, Switched At Birth, Gossip Girl, Turn, The Originals, and The Vampire Diaries.

Second:

Why are you drawn into them?

When you ask yourself why, what comes to mind?

One thing, I’ve noticed about my picks are:

  • I like a fantasy theme
  • I like believable characters
  • I like stories with strong characters who come across conflicts & they set out to solve them
  • I like being pulled in from the start. (If the first episode doesn’t grab me – I won’t be able to keep watching them. This is also the same when I’m reading books. If a writer doesn’t catch me from page one, they lose me.)
  • I like for there to be a deeper meaning to the story

Third:

How did they make you care?

I am not doing to go over every single one of my picks, but here are a few.

The Walking Dead – The world has gone to pot. People I care about are thrown into life or death situations. On top of all the daily issues that people have to face, these characters also have to deal with not being eaten. They have me.

Vampire Diaries – A high-school girl lives in a mysterious town where fantastical things have been going on for generations. But she is pulled into it, when two captivatingly interesting brothers with dark pasts come to town. Their secret pulled me in and once I found out they were Vampires I was stuck. Boom.

Switched At Birth – This television show has no fantasy themes or anything, but the characters grabbed my attention right away. I got to see into the lives of two families who were affected by having daughters who were accidentally placed in the wrong mother’s arms at birth. One daughter is deaf and the other falls in love with a deaf boy who is intriguing. I really enjoy peeking into both of the girl’s different lives. Also as soon as I heard the love story I was hooked.

What am I seeing a lot of here: 

Characters are important to me.

Get me to care about your characters & you’ve SOLD your TV show or your book to me.

How Can You?

Through Conflict…

Are your nails digging into the leather cushions as your eyes are glued to the screen. Is the tension and conflict getting the best of you? Don’t you just love it when you’re hooked and then….

BOOM…

The episode ENDS??

After watching 24, I started noticing what many writers and teachers had told me before. Once things get good, kick your character and make them feel that pain. 24, isn’t running anymore, but I’d watched it with Johan and when ever the characters had a chance of being safe, happy, or getting what they want that was when something would happen… when conflict would HIT.

MISSION:

What does your character want MOST?

In the first season, Jack Bauer wants his wife and daughter to be returned to safety.

When they are one step closer to being back together what happens?

While watching 24, I finally understood this conflict stuff better. I got-

pins and needles when something good was happening, because I knew that SOON around the corner something BAD was going to happen to them.

What You Should Do:

LESSON 1: Make your characters go through Conflict. And when you make them go through conflict – make them feel it. The readers will feel it then too.

LESSON 2: “What does your character want most? When you figure that out – tear that “Wanted” thing or person away from your character.”

During and before college I was never into television shows. But, this year I really had learned some great tips from script writers through television shows. They really are great writers.

In your writing, you want to make readers happy that your father character is walking in the mall food court when his daughter and her captor are walking in a store near the food court. What are you hoping will happen while you watch that?

You hope they find each other and that the father will beat up the stupid bad guy.

Yes… you want the father and daughter to be, reunited again, but then,

WHACK!

 

You need to throw your readers for a ride then. They will care about your characters more then.

Here is an exercise for you:

  • Pick out a character
  • What do they WANT? Make them want something really bad…
  • Take it away… make it hard for them to get it.
  • Write for 10 mins in your notebook or on your computer
  • Summarize what you wrote into a short paragraph (Remember: SHOW me who your character is & what they want. But also how are you going to make it hard or nearly impossible for them to get what they want?)

About Devin Berglund

Writer. Dreamer. Wanderer. Enjoyer of Life. She loves crafting stories that change lives. Her first book "The Mason of Hearts" was recently finished. It's the first in a Fantasy Adventure trilogy. She is also working toward agent representation.

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