Thursday, August 24

On the Road: Common Misconceptions about Conflict #2: Conflict = Tension

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I'm over at Marcy Kennedy's blog today, chatting about another common misconception about conflict. I'll give you a hint: conflict does not equal tension. Come on over and check it out.

Here's a sneak peek:
Conflict is one of the more misunderstood aspects of writing fiction, because it’s not always clear what someone means when they say, “conflict.” This has no doubt tripped up a lot of new writers (and even some experienced writers), and caused quite a few unproductive writing sessions. It’s hard to create strong conflict in a novel if you’re not sure what conflict is. It’s even harder when you think it’s actually something else.

Confusing tension with conflict has probably caused more frustration than any other aspect of conflict, because these two are so closely linked they seem like the same thing—except they aren’t. You can have conflict without tension, and tension without conflict. Struggling over which boy to go to prom with is a conflict, but if there’s no sense of anticipation about that choice, there’s no tension. Sexual tension between characters keeps readers interested, even though there’s no conflict since both parties want the same thing. The tension comes from the anticipation of how they resolve that attraction. (read the rest here)

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