The first thing I learned in a short story class was how to develop conflict. The instructor explained that not every story idea is a good one, and gave an example of a student interested in writing a story concerning finding a baby deer, but there wasn’t any conflict.
There is also a difference between conflict and delay. A quick example: the scary scenes we see in movies where the stalker is approaching the car with an ax and the woman fumbles for her keys, drops them on the floorboard and frantically tries to find them. This is not conflict it’s just delay. The true conflict is the ax murder stopping the character from achieving her goal and I’m taking a wild guess that it’s keeping her head.
There’s external conflict and internal conflict. In my world, external is easier to develop, or at least it was in my last short story “Blurred Lines”. When I had it critiqued and edited at Writer’s Digest, guess what I wasn’t clear on? Internal conflict. A strong story needs both in order for the plot and characters to fully bloom and grow.
And the book I’m highly recommending, “Writing with Emotion, Tension and Conflict by Cheryl St. John. It’s available on Amazon and Writer’s Digest site.
Until Next Time…