Aren’t local libraries amazing? Last night, I went to my library for a free writing workshop with Melbourne writer Toni Jordan on conflict.
Toni is the author of Addition, Fall girl, Nine days and Our tiny useless hearts. She spoke to us about how to handle conflict in our fiction.
Unlike real life, readers and writers need conflict in books. As I tell my primary school writing students, you don’t want to read a book where the main character achieves what they want within the first chapter. Boring!
So while conflict in real life is often something to dread or avoid, conflict in books is essential because it adds drama and keeps readers turning the page.
Toni explained that conflict can be divided into three sections:
- inner – what does the protagonist fear the most?
- interpersonal – who does the protagonist clash with?
- physical – this may surround the protagonist like a class system, politics or religion.
I kept my current work-in-progress in mind during Toni’s workshop. My protagonist, a 12-year-old street artist, faces conflict with his local council who wants to stop street artists from painting.
I hope you have a week of conflict within the books you are reading or writing but no conflict in your ‘real’ lives!