I suppose that better fiction comes from people who are messier, who don’t mind wading into a scene where there’s conflict.
Because that’s what messes up my plotting. There I’ll be, setting up the battle to end all battles, and I’ve got my people primed and ready to go. There’s going to be Donnybrook!
But wait. Not really a plot twist, more like a balloon full of molten lead. The antagonist has flown the coop. There is no battle. No bodies. No blood. No bullets flying.
That’s awfully boring, isn’t it? No one wants to read that. Give us the figurative blood and gore. We want it. We need it. It’s necessary for fiction to have that.
That’s the point of the title. The nice people out there, they shy away from dragging everyone else through their messes. Fiction comes from the depiction of people in different bad situations. Maybe people who’ve been damaged by conflict in their childhoods might write weak fiction because they shy away from the nasty stuff. I don’t blame ’em. Maybe you are the eternal optimist and think there’s enough conflict in the world. Maybe you’re just nice and want people to have a yellow happy face have a nice day sort of blather. Either way, that is the insipid path to dullness.
Stories do not work without conflict.
So brace yourselves and make everyone argue. Peace is a nice thing to talk about in blog posts where you have no intention of doing anything to back it up, but it’s dullsville in fiction. If you manuscript says, “The elves and dwarves had been at peace as long as anyone could remember,” I’ll fix that for you. Say, instead, “The elves and dwarves had been in a bitter war as along as anyone could remember.” Everytime we get and elf and dwarf together, there’s a fight!
Plus, each scene needs that conflict goal thing. You know, the character has a goal. There’s a conflict. They can’t have their goal. Then you do the whole mourning thing, they come up with a new goal, and go to carry that out. Scene and sequel. Repeat this over and over. Apply structure, apply arc, add plot twists, you have a book.
I will now go make my characters fight some more. There’s way too much agreement.