Keeping Your Character Conflicts Realistic

Contributed Post

Writing is a hard thing to do. It’s something we all can do in our own ways, with our own styles and tones, and our own perspectives on how art should work. But all in all, there’s a few rock solid structures that need to go into a story to make it relatable and believable: a gripping opening, characters with more dimensions than they have dialogue lines, a setting that has its own laws of the universe, and a bit of conflict that gets resolved by the end of the narrative. And all in all, conflict is often considered one of the most important parts of a story.

So with that in mind, let’s think about how you can handle conflict, and what kind of provoking and interesting questions you should be asking during your thought and writing processes. Feel free to read on if you need some help with this part of your creation.

You can write out worlds of your own making, but can you relate to the troubles within them? (Image)

How Do You Start it Off?

And when? Do you hint at the conflict at the beginning of the book, or you do you let it rise naturally towards the middle, or you do you throw it in at the end, to make sure you’ve got an opening for a second book to follow up with? If you’re someone who likes the ideas of series, that’s always an option to look into.

But then, how do you make the conflict seem natural? Do you hint at it through character dialogue? That can be a delicate balance to try and master. After all, if you’re writing from the point of view of one of your characters, rather than an omniscient narrator, you can only write what they see and hear, and their own opinions on them.

All in all, you’re going to need to draft your conflict out at least two or three times, to see the different ways you could play it, and whether you could mix some ideas together to properly complete the picture you’re painting in your mind.

Do You Understand Real World Systems?

Research is one of the biggest parts of turning your story into something tangible on the page, so of course you’re going to go all out with your Google key terms and asking opinions from your friends and family. But it’s a good idea to go a little deeper here –  even when you’re not writing within a reality similar to our own, it’s a good idea to base your ideas off of these real world systems, and either reject or accept them as you go.

Let’s say one of your characters is headed to prison, but you need a way to get them out of it that seems realistic, but still has enough jeopardy and hope involved to keep a reader interested. Maybe now would be a good time to learn about the justice system, where a lawyer comes in, and ultimately, how bail and realise are obtained – feel free to click here to learn more about these points in your quest to keep your conflicts as a relatable point that really shows the strength, and pure character, of the people you’re writing.

On the other hand, a story of your own creation is something you decide the terms of, but that doesn’t mean it’ll make sense to anyone else. You want to bring people in, and make sure they understand what’s going on, without spoon feeding them the details and story points that they can put together themselves. And when you help to represent a reality that has its roots in what’s around us, it can be a lot easier to expand upon your universe in an engaging and fun way.

How Do You Bring All the Characters Together?

It’s not often that conflict exists on its own, within its own little bubble, and there’s usually at least two people involved in the separate narrative it revolves around. Even when you’re writing for an ensemble cast, the other characters are going to hear about what’s going on around them, unless one of the character flaws is a legendary low perception!

Sure, a lot of the time, it can be hard to juggle more than four or five people who all have different and interesting personalities and motivations, but you do in fact have complete control over what goes on throughout your story! You know who these people are, and they’re never going to do anything without your say so – bringing your characters together in conflict means you need to have a good grip on who they are and how they’d react.

So you’re going to need some common interests, some common enemies, some common problems, and an open and ongoing dialogue that keeps all your characters in touch with one another. After all, rarely do we in real life have no friends, family, or acquaintances to rely on, especially if you have a small setting to work with. For example, close knit towns and villages usually all know each other, so be sure to represent something like this in your writing.

So, Are You Writing a Realistic Conflict?

Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. After all, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, and you’re doing it alone, and you don’t have all the necessary life experience to make sure you’re always writing from a rational and logical point. And indeed, there’s been all kinds of news reports on events that don’t seem realistic in the slightest, so you know you’ve got a lot to work with here!

Conflict seems realistic when you believe in it, and have researched it properly, and base it off a section of reality that the reader base you’re trying to market towards is aware of. So now’s your chance to really bring your writer game to the forefront, and let yourself go a lot further with your plans.


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