Building Conflict into Character

Last time we talked about point-of-view in fiction, which comes naturally to some and bedevils other writers. Another fictional area that often needs help is that of conflict in your characters. How can you build conflict into a character, and why is this a good idea?
Writing Tip for Today: When we think of conflict, we often think of gunslingers staring each other down or some other kind of violence. Yet conflict isn’t necessarily violent. Conflict can be as simple as a character who is unflinching in devotion or loyalty–even to the wrong things. Women writers, especially, often need to spice up their female characters. In our culture, women are taught to “be nice.” Sometimes it’s hard to get that character out of the nice trap and into a memorable role. Your female characters need not be tobacco-chewing roughnecks, but they should possess spunk, deeply held convictions and the ability to face danger without being a doormat.
Try This! Take a look at a one of your female characters. Is this person strong enough? Does she have true grit? If not, consider “pumping up” qualities such as her courage, loyalty or pluck.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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