Actually… lack of conflicted, if you really want to know.
That’s the problem. And it’s a big problem.
The story I’m currently trying to revise is badly broken. And one of the main problems it has in the lack of meaningful conflict.
In order for a story to be worthwhile, it has to have conflict. That sounds contrary, I know. And as someone who doesn’t especially like conflict in real life, it can be difficult to put appropriate conflict in my stories.
I’ve even heard people argue that conflict isn’t really necessary for a good story. But they’re wrong. In fact, without conflict, it’s actually impossible to have a story.
And contrary to what some think, conflict doesn’t necessarily mean fighting. Nope. Conflict is about your character having a goal, and someone or something is standing in the way of them reaching that goal. Sometimes there’s a fight. Often, though, there’s some other kind of obstacle. A traffic jam. Embarrassment over calling the cute guy from geometry class. A fitness instructor who tells you to work harder while they’re eating a hamburger with bacon and extra pickles.
Without the traffic, you easily just drive to where you’re going. Without being flustered over the cute boy, you simply get a study partner and new boyfriend in one fell swoop. Without the hypocritical coach, you’re just, ya know, on the treadmill doing what you do.
And it’s all very dull.
Without conflict, all you really have is a slice of life. Sometimes that can be interesting, I guess, but it provides for very little movement. A story that doesn’t move, that doesn’t go anywhere, is not something that people read. It’s just not.
So, yeah. Conflict. Based on the character’s desires and goals. Goody.
Right now my biggest conflict is that I’ve been avoiding working on my story because I’m at a point where I need to analyze and improve the conflict. I love the idea of the story, but it has very little movement because, scene by scene, there is very little conflict. So it’s boring. I have to fix it.
But I don’t like conflict.
I’m so conflicted. sigh