Conflict and Why You Need Some

Whether your fiction is plot- or character-driven, what’s really sitting behind the wheel of this bus is the conflict. Without conflict, your story will flop around like a quivering lump of protoplasm, kind of like Jabba the Hutt without the charm. Conflict drives story. It drives your characters to get off their asses and do something about the things that have been bothering them.

To keep the conflict in the forefront of my squirmy writer brain, I keep asking myself, “What does this character want?” Okay, right now one of my protagonists wants chocolate and a shoulder rub. Lovely aims, but hardly enough to make a reader stick around for three hundred pages. The conflict is too easily resolved. She can go to the store to buy chocolate, or pay a massage therapist to tend to her aching muscles. BUT… what if she is driven to the point of obsession to create the most sinfully delicious chocolate on the planet because her mother died in a freak chocolate fountain accident before she could realize her dream of being the next Willy Wonka? What if she is so hideously deformed that all of humankind recoils from her, except for the nice guy down the street…who is marrying a total bee-yotch next Saturday, and our gal is contemplating nefarious behavior involving rat poison and a bear trap?

Now there’s some conflict.
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