Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Core Conflict & Scenic Conflict

Look at the diagram below. It represents a story in five scenes, showing:
  • the relationship between the (overall) core conflict and the (particular) conflict in each scene
  • the relationship between a character's (overall) main goal and his (particular) purpose (a mini-goal, an immediate goal) in each scene.
In the begining your hero, confronted with the core conflict, sets a (main) goal to overcome it. He chooses a course of action and takes the first step. Achieving it is his immediate goal, or purpose. In each scene he comes into conflict with opposition. His purpose may be achieved, thwarted, or even defeated (set back). In any case, he is confronted with even greater opposition to battle in the subsequent scene.

In other words, the scene is the basic unit of the story. Each scene has its own problem, quest(ion), or dilemma; its own premise; its own opposition; its own conflict; its own purpose (goal); and its own outcome. That is, each scene has its own begining, middle, and end. Each scene contributes to proving the (overall) premise of the story. And each scene contributes to the rising core conflict.

Though friends and relatives can do more harm than good with feedback about your story, you can ask them to read it telling you the moment they feel tired or bored. Where this happens, the story lacks conflict and begins to drag.

The seed of conflict is desire. The spark of life.

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