Friday Feature: Six Types of Character Conflicts

Friday Feature

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Still Time to Watch the Replays!

Sign up and watch the replays! You’ll go to the “hub” and have your choice of what you’ll watch and learn. For example, here’s a few of my notes from what I learned during the Andy Weir interview.

The chief character in The Martian (i.e., “Mark”) was a likable but not deep character. The reader knows only a little about him (i.e., he’s smart, he’s snarky, and he didn’t want to die).

Today, Andy adds depth and complexity to his main characters, including the person’s history, phobias, flaws, poor life decisions, etc. (just like the not-so-good aspects of Andy when he was 26 years old). But Andy recognized that making his characters realistic doesn’t automatically make them an excellent character.

The writer has to work on making characters the reader will root for. If the audience doesn’t like the character, most readers will not like the book. Therefore, the writer has to balance getting the reader to empathize with the character (i.e., the flaws that make room for growth) and liking the individual (i.e., getting readers to root for the person when the chips are down).

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  1. I’m a character-driven reader, Grant, and want characters that make me feel something. Relatable, realistic, and room for growth are key. Excellent infographic on conflict. The more, the better. Our poor characters have it tough. 🙂

  2. Useful stuff! I have to admit though, I don’t have the capacity to plan things beforehand, so I just go with what sounds like a conflict. But for some reason, my stories always end up as Man vs. Man (corporations, mostly, because cyberpunk). Thanks for this!

    1. I understand, Stuart. The beauty of writing: no rules, just principles! Whether pre-planned or during editing, the different character conflicts help writers engage readers.

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