Sunday, January 18, 2009

Conflict, Action & Suspense

Conflict is that dreaded ingredient for which each of us searches. If a writer has a good solid plot and loveable characters, but has no conflict, the story fails.

To the end of deepening the conflict in my stories, I recently read "Conflict, Action & Suspense" by William Noble. He started by comparing our school days show and tell sessions as a way to portray information in an interesting format. Better to bring your pet duck to school rather than tell us what the duck looks like. Noble offers examples of good and better, active and passive which helps us get his points.

I love dialogue, so enjoyed chapter five, using yes/no or well, maybe along with the threat of the unsaid to heighten conflict and/or suspense. From the step by step method, we learn the use of atmosphere and mood. Character development adds spice of its own. Will the character be able to stand against the storm coming? So far, I've tackled only one suspense manuscript, but when I wrote it, I wished I'd had the chapter on sublety and misdirection. Sherlock Holmes could be fooled with this approach. Add in how Noble uses time and place along with pacing, and we have a real helper for our problems with conflict.

I recommend it as a tool to keep on hand for reference when the story becomes boring.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are going to be introducing more conflict in your stories now that you've read this book on how to go about it.


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