I came across this problem last week. I’m not talking about the main conflict of the story, of course. That would mean I’d completed the story in eight chapters. Trust me, it’s not close.
No, but no novel (or very, very few) lives on a single conflict. There are always others–internal conflicts between mutually exclusive desires or fears. Conflicts between characters, even when they’re on the same side in the larger conflict. Sub plots. A dozen other kinds of conflict that enrich the story.
And I acknowledge that I have a problem. I have a desire to end a particular kind of conflict too early. It’s the conflict between my two romantic leads. I have no problem stringing this out before they come together. It’s after they’ve become a couple that I tend to want to smooth over their little differences. I want them to be happy together. But the course of true love never does run smooth–certainly not in fiction.
BLOOD IS THICKER is the sequel to my paranormal romance BLOOD WILL TELL. The central conflict hits very close to newly-weds Rolf and Valeriah. And there’s a conflict between them in how to deal with it. Rolf wants to run around trying to fix it (typical male). Valeriah is driven to protect . . . well, you’ll just have to wait and read it to find out what she wants to protect. Can’t give too much away. (Besides, it’d take too much backstory to explain in this post.)
Rolf is basically clueless and occasionally puzzled by Valeriah’s reaction. For Vallie, it’s a sort of hot and cold conflict. Sometimes she’s really pissed off with Rolf. (And she’s half werewolf. You really don’t want to make her mad.) Other times, she’s merely annoyed. Which, of course, only makes Rolf more confused. He’s trying to be strong for her and she’s reading it as detached.
I had the scene in my head where Rolf finally gets it and they get back on track. So, I wrote it. Nothing wrong with that. But I’d only gotten a couple of chapters further before I realized my mistake. It’s a good scene. I’m going to keep it. It just can’t happen for about a dozen more chapters, bringing them back solidly together just before the climax.
So, I’ve spent the last few days redoing chapters 7 thru 9. I don’t usually allow myself to go back during a first draft. I try to make the first draft forward only and keep the
infernal internal editor switched off. But when it’s a conflict I need to pull forward in the story, well, I didn’t think I had any choice.
Even better, this conflict allows me to draw two characters closer together and set up a separate conflict which will probably continue even when the first is resolved. Don’t you love it when that happens?
Back on track, now and almost done with chapter 10.
In other news, Rebekah Loper has passed on a couple of blog awards to me.
The Blog on Fire award, which requires me to share seven (more) facts about myself and pass it on.
And the 7 x 7 Link Award, which requires me to choose one of my posts in each of seven different categories and then pass the award along.
Thank you, Rebekah. I’ll be taking care of the requirements in my next blog post.
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