Tuesday, September 30, 2014



In literature, conflicts is an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces. 

Conflict creates tension and interest in a story by adding doubt as to the outcome

.[1] A narrative is not limited to a single conflict. 
[2] While conflicts may not always resolve in narrative, the resolution of a conflict creates closure, which may or may not occur at a story's end.

Conflict is most visible between two or more characters, usually a protagonist and an antagonist, but can occur in many different forms.

Basic conflicts
Types of conflict in fiction have been commonly codified as "man against man", "man against nature", "man against himself."[4][5] In each case, "man" is the universal and refers to women as well.

Although frequently cited, these three types of conflict are not universally accepted. Ayn Rand, for instance, argued that "man against nature" is not a conflict because nature has no free will and thus can make no choices.[6] Sometimes a fourth basic conflict is described, "man against society".[7][8]

Man against man
"Man against man" conflict involves stories where characters are pitted against each other.[5][7] The conflict may be direct opposition, as in a gunfight or a robbery, or it may be a more subtle conflict between the desires of two or more characters, as in a romance or a family epic.

Man against nature
"Man against nature" conflict positions the hero against an animal or a force of nature.[5][7]

Man against himself
With "man against himself" conflict, the struggle is internal.[5][7] A character must overcome his own natures or make a choice between two or more paths - good and evil; logic and emotion.

As with other literary terms, these have come about gradually as descriptions of common narrative structures. Conflict was first described in ancient Greek literature as the agon, or central contest in tragedy.[2] According to Aristotle, in order to hold the interest, the hero must have a single conflict.

 The agon, or act of conflict, involves the protagonist (the "first fighter") and the antagonist (a more recent term), corresponding to the hero and villain. The outcome of the contest cannot be known in advance, and according to later critics such as Plutarch, the hero's struggle should be ennobling.

Even in contemporary, non-dramatic literature, critics have observed that the agon is the central unit of the plot. The easier it is for the protagonist to triumph, the less value there is in the drama. In internal and external conflict alike, the antagonist must act upon the protagonist and must seem at first to overmatch him or her. For example, in William Faulkner's The Bear, nature might be the antagonist. Even though it is an abstraction, natural creatures and the scenery oppose and resist the protagonist. 

In the same story, the young boy's doubts about himself provide an internal conflict, and they seem to overwhelm him.

Similarly, when godlike characters enter (e.g. Superman), correspondingly great villains have to be created, or natural weaknesses have to be invented, to allow the narrative to have drama. Alternatively, scenarios could be devised in which the character's godlike powers are constrained by some sort of code, or their respective antagonist.
Conflict Resolution Conflicts can be resolved through the following ways:
  • Dialogue :When groups or parties involved in a conflict, dialogue is a solution to their differences which is likely to be discovered.
  • Tolerance :When people tolerate and accept that others have a right to be different.
  • Practice of justice and fairness :When the principles of justice, fairness and fair play is applied to human relationships, conflicts will be resolved.
  • Peace keeping :Armed personnel can be used for keeping and maintaining peace.
  • Going to court :Conflicts can be resolved by taking the matter to court.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Do You Know What A Plot Is?

What a plot is and what a story is can be sometimes confusing. If you think they are the same… They are not. 

A plot is the outline of your story. The story is everything included. 

I will illustrate the difference by asking you to visualize two pictures…

1.      Visualize a skeleton.

2.      Visualize a body.

The skeleton is your plot. It’s the outline of your story. It won’t be visible when we flesh it out but it will still be there, holding your story together. 

The body is your story. It’s everything, which our story will contain, including the plot. The story is the plot fleshed out.

What does it mean to ‘flesh it out?’

Let me show you.

I’ll take a brief plot…

A man meets a woman and they fall in love. They encounter great difficulties because their family are against the relationship.

This is the outline of the story.

Now we are going to flesh it out and make it into a story. Fleshing it out means adding things to make this basic plot into a story. To do this we will add the rest of the ingredients such as…

  • Setting – Where will our story take place
  • Dialogue – What will be said and by whom
  • Characters – How many characters will our story contain? Who are they? What is their role?
  • Problems – What and how many problems will the couple encounter
  • Goal – What is the couple’s goal?
  • Conflict – What is the conflict?
  • Climax – How is the conflict going to come to its peak?
  • Ending – Will their love win in the end?
  • And anything else I’ll need in my story

Once we have written up all these ingredients, this will be our plot fleshed out into a story.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Write a Character Analysis

By Grace Fleming, About.com Guide

1). Personality of the Character
When you write a character analysis, you will be expected to describe a character's personality.

We get to know characters in our stories through the things they say, feel, and do. It's not as difficult as it may seem to figure out a character's personality traits based on his/her thoughts and behaviors:

"Say cheese!" the exasperated photographer shouted, as she pointed her camera toward the group of squirming children. Margot displayed her broadest, most convincing fake smile as she inched ever-closer to her younger cousin. Just as the photographer's finger twitched over the shutter button, Margot leaned into her young cousin's side and pinched hard. The boy let out a yelp, just as the camera clicked."

You can probably make some assumptions about Margot from the brief segment above. If you had to name three character traits to describe her, what would they be? Is she a nice, innocent girl? Hardly! From the brief paragraph we know she's apparently sneaky, mean, and deceptive.

You will receive clues about a character's personality through his or her:
  • Words
  • Actions
  • Reactions
  • Feelings
  • Movements
  • Thoughts
  • Mannerisms
2.) Character Role
When you write a character analysis, you must also define each character's role.

In addition to having personality traits, characters also fill certain roles in a story. They either play a major role, as a central element to the story, or they play a minor role to serve a supporting role in the story.

Protagonist: The protagonist of a story is often called the main character. The plot revolves around the protagonist. There may be more than one main character.
  • In If I Stay, Mia is the protagonist.
  • In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel is the protagonist.
  • In Inferno, Professor Robert Langdon is the protagonist.
Antagonist: The antagonist is the character who represents a challenge or an obstacle to the protagonist in a story. In some stories, the antagonist is not a person!
  • In If I Stay, Mia's life is the antagonist. She must struggle to get her life again after the accident.
  • In  The Fault in Our Stars, Augustus is the antagonist.
Foil: A foil is a character who provides contrast to the main character (protagonist), in order to emphasize the main character's traits. 

3). Character Development (Growth and Change)

When you are asked to write a character analysis, you will be expected to explain how a character changes and grows. Most characters go through changes as a story unfolds-otherwise, stories would be pretty boring!

Other Useful Terms for Character Analysis

Flat Character: A flat character has one or two personality traits that don't change. The flat character can play a major or a minor role.

Round Character: A round character has many complex traits-and those traits develop and change in a story. A round character will seem more real than a flat character, because people are complex!

Stock or Stereotype Character: A character who represents a stereotype is a stock character. These characters exist to maintain widespread belief in "types," such as hot-tempered redheads, stingy businessmen and absent-minded professors.

Static: A static character never changes. A loud, obnoxious "background" character who remains the same throughout the story is static. A boring character who is never changed by events is also static.

Dynamic: Unlike a static character, a dynamic character does change and grow as the story unfolds. Dynamic characters respond to events and experience a change in attitude or outlook.