Conflict Through Crisis 2

Last week I shared what I learned at SWiC16 when Daniel José Older spoke about moments that change lives. Here’s the link.

Moments of crisis.

A crisis in a character’s life is the moment the story begins. All the moments after it are the realigning of their life back into balance. It’s this search for balance and attempt to make sense out of these events that creates the character arc.

It’s a natural response to:

  • An unstable time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome
  • A condition of instability or danger, leading to a decisive change.
  • A dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.
  • The point in a play or story at which hostile elements are most tensely opposed to each other.
  • A time of intense difficulty or danger.
  • A time when a difficult or important decision must be made
  • A crisis is a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more very serious problems.

Thank you Daniel for you insight into creating a better character and story through crisis.

What crisis would you use to intensify your character arcs?

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22 responses to “Conflict Through Crisis 2

  1. I tend to throw a whole bunch of different sources of conflict, both internal and external, at my characters and let them figure it out…or not.

    Wasn’t Daniel amazing? I loved his keynote speech so much.

  2. It can start with one small thing that triggers a chain reaction of events.

  3. I think I usually like a combination of unavoidable danger and the emotional stakes used to fuel the danger. Great post:)

  4. I do like to see the characters struggling…LOL
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. Great advice! Every book needs a struggle, even if we want our characters to be happy!

  6. I like internal and external conflicts that feed the other, but I would need to gives more thought for a good answer.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  7. I enjoy the conflict or struggle the character needs to face or overcome.

  8. Angela Wooldridge

    I like Holly Moncrieff’s comment here – it’s a real eye opener when you throw something at your characters and watch to see how they deal with it

  9. I love it when there is conflict and struggle in a book.

  10. Sounds like great insight… Conflict (inner and external) often drives character decisions… i can tell when I’m struggling with my story, it’s because I don’t have strong enough conflicts.

  11. Ooh, a handy little writer-ly list. I love handy little writer-ly lists!
    I think the moment of crisis should be like Goldilocks’s porridge: not too hot, not too cold. I think young writers either overdo or underdo it. Great advice!

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