Surviving Nanowrimo # 5: The Devil Made Me Do It

Today we’re going to talk conflict. You see, there is no such thing as a story or a hero or a protagonist without conflict. One thing to remember when writing a story: Really bad things happen to really good characters. The more a hero has to overcome the more the reader likes the character.

Consider that there are five types of conflict:
1.Man against man. Harry Potter and Game of Thrones are examples.
2.Man against nature. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London and the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow.”
3.Man against society. 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale
4.Man against self. Hamlet
5.Man against technology. 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Terminator

It’s obvious that “Chad and the Surfboard” has a human vs. human conflict scheme. In the novel, there are several villains. The ex-boyfriend chief among them. After doing the draft, it’s obvious to me that I need to flush him out more. But that is what you learn with first drafts, what I need more of and what I need less of.

One thing to keep in mind: a villain or an antagonist is human. They do not judge their actions as bad. In their mind, their actions are for the good as they see it.

And, in some cases, they won’t even understand why they did such a thing. That’s when they will laugh and say, “The Devil made me do it.” And maybe they’re right.

When creating the antagonist, try to let a little of the antagonist’s good creep in.

Just like the hero of the story, they want something. Usually something that opposes what the hero wants.

And don’t forget. The villain might just be the devil.  Who wants the hero’s soul. You never know.


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