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Workshop: Conflict


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=== Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 15:22:08 -0500 From: Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Subject: WORK: Companion'sHeart

-- [ From: Jacqueline Lichtenberg * EMC.Ver #3.0 ] --

Folks: letting you in on the by-play here: (the Cheryl here is Cheryl Wolverton.   )

Cheryl wrote: 

re: outline...I am going through the story...putting notations where I want   scenes...I'll be honest. If this is to sell as a romance, I will have to "beef   up" the attraction or it'll fall's a great story without   romance (Well...not great writing but a great idea okay)...but for the   romance market the emphasis has to be on romance....what is keeping them   apart -

--------------- JL's response below -------

Oh, absolutely - I was waiting for you to twig to that. I told you - sell it as a FORMULA ROMANCE and I meant it. PLAY the Romance axis for SUSPENSE LINE. We haven't discussed suspense line in the workshop yet but it works the same as conflict line and runs parallel to it. Suspense is the capacitor in the circuit, and conflict is the transistors.

Which is easy...he can't trust her to do her a companion...if  she can't do her job, it's dangerous for them to get to close because he would  be tempted for their situation is holding them apart...)

Lazy, lazy, lazy!!!! If it's easy, then it's no good. Remember that.

The DISTRUST is a complication (or it could make a theme and a motif - or even comic relief). Learn the difference between a plot development and a complication - confuse them and you bore the reader.

"What is keeping them apart" is the CONFLICT. Misunderstanding and distrust are minor and trivial complications. The CONFLICT has to be real, about something substantive. And it has to be both INTERNAL and EXTERNAL at the same time - reflected one in the other. And each of them has to have the OBVERSE of the other's conflict if you're going to do dual-pov. Take her internal conflict, twist it 180 degrees, and that's HIS internal conflict.. (You can get a more complex novel by twisting her inner conflict into his external conflict).

You need a character whose agenda requires keeping them apart. You need each of these three characters to have an agenda - a heroic achievement they are committed to in a do-or-die determination. And those agendas have to be inherently mutually exclusive. Then you have to take the characters through attitude-changing EXPERIENCES and cause them to open up to each other emotionally so that they can create a mutual agenda where everyone gets what they want and need. The key has to be emotional heroism. Any conflict between a Sime and a Gen can only resolve via emotional heroism - usually in the form of total compassion. Domination only leads to death and destruction. Equality is the only thing that works.

Go and reread my INTIMATE ADVENTURE article that's now posted (1999 - here in the workshop) on TECTON CENTRAL - its link is near the top of the right hand page when you log on. THAT'S what will sell Sime~Gen to the Romance Genre - the rest is mechanics.

Just remember, you're writing a VAMPIRE NOVEL disguised as S~G. Of course, you can't have Householding Carre in a vampire novel.

Live Long and Prosper,

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

(1999 comment added:  Cheryl is still working on this novel, and when it'd done and published, this post will be very valuable to the student.  Meanwhile the principles mentioned here are sound -- and you will find more discussion of CONFLICT and COMPLICATIONS and so on in other posts.)







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