Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guest Author: Richard Shiver

Characters & Conflict.

Think back to the last book you read. Can you remember the names of the main characters? If so take a moment to think about what their biggest conflict was during the course of the story.  If you’re able to do so the writer knew what they needed to do to create a believable character. 

As living, breathing, human beings we all face some level of conflict on a daily basis. Be it with our social or physical world, in personal relationships, or with our own nature. Our conflicts can involve a boss or coworker we’d rather not have to face, a lover, or even our emotions and desires. 

Without the character there can be no conflict, and without conflict there is no story. All you’re left with is a dry inventory of the elements of the set upon which the character is destined to live. There is nothing present for the reader to become emotionally invested in. 

That is the job of the writer. To get the reader emotionally invested in the story. 

The description of a man walking down the street gives a reader nothing to attach any significance to. No matter how brilliant the prose, nor how witty the metaphors; it’s still just a guy walking down the street. An event forgotten by the reader as soon as the passage passes from the page. But if while the man is walking he is fighting with himself over his feelings for a certain other character in the tale, conflict has been introduced. Will this other character feel the same way as he? What will happen if they don’t? And the potential for more conflict grows. From this conflict the true depth of the character emerges . 

In Shadows of the Past I delve into the internal conflicts of two men on opposite sides of the battle between good and evil. Jack Griffith can not escape the memories of the day, as a young man in Southeast Asia, that he walked hand in hand with an ancient evil residing in the depths of his soul. Nor can Sam Hardin put to rest the promises of what could have been had it not been for a weakness that brought about the untimely death of his wife. Struggling with these internal conflicts they are thrust into the ongoing battle between good and evil.


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