Category Archives: Flesh Them Out

Writing: Adding Inner Conflict

Last week I posted about writing conflict. And although I meant to include inner conflict, I proved to myself I know less than I thought. Enlightened, I decided to find out more.

All fleshed out characters have a longing or a need. Let’s define longing as a deep thinker-28741desire or wish that they’ve never acted upon. Their deep need is the awareness that something is missing, but they can’t identity what it might be. One or the other drives a character toward an inner goal.


Within the character arc is where all the changes take place. For example, MC starts off selfish and works her way to being selfless. As with the story arc, we need tension and tension comes from what stops the character from achieving their goal.

Disney is a master at letting the audience know what the character longs for or needs. It doesn’t matter what they strive for. What does matter is going through the stages of trying, failing and trying again. Little by little the character earns their right to achieve their goal.

While there is doubt whether the dream will come true, Disney has never failed to give me a heartwarming ending.

Here are some possible obstacles:


  • Loving from a distance and reaching out
  • Trusting another character without reservation
  • Taking a chance like singing the lead


Whether it’s a broken heart or a phobia, fear is stopping your character from achieving their goal, during their arc they need to get over it.

hard decisions

  • Brain vs Heart
  • Wrong and Legal vs Moral and Illegal
  • Living up to anothers expectations vs Doing what is right for them
  • Wants two things and can only have one. Example, boyfriend and husband.

In the end, all of us must make choices. Our characters are more human if they have choices too.

Anything I missed? Please feel free to add to the list. 🙂

Gleaned from: