The point of this blogfest is to pick a post made earlier this year and revive it for a do-over, in order to give it another chance to be read. I decided to bring back an entry I made during the craziness of the A-to-Z Challenge back in April. I chose this one because this is a topic I've again had on my mind as I've been writing lately -- just how much tension and opposition do I need to insert into my stories to hold a reader's interest? I'm still trying to find the right amount -- I've gotten feedback in recent rejections that say I don't have enough and others that say I've overdone it and that the story feels forced and artificial. So what's the right amount, and why do I even need to worry about it? While I still don't have the subject mastered, I do I think I wrote some relevant comments on this back in April.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my revived Deja Vu post! I really appreciate it. And HERE is the link for all of the participants taking part in the blogfest -- please stop by each of them to read and enjoy their choices for the do-over!
2012 A-to-Z Blogfest: "O" Is For...
For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.
Today, the topic is OPPOSITION.
As a writer who's still trying to learn all I can about writing, one of the things I keep coming across is that the basis for all effective drama is conflict. To hold my reader I have to incorporate conflict, tension, striving against outside forces or inner demons, risk, stakes, and other elements that basically boil down to the same thing – opposition. It doesn't have to be that THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE hinges on every minor detail of my story, but there better be elements of conflict and opposition, even if it's only at the inner emotional level within a single character.
OK, I get it, and actually, I agree. To make for interesting reading, I need to make characters, scenes, and plot elements that highlight tension, conflict, and opposition.
Who wants to read a story about an average guy with a happy life who does average things and everyone around him is happy, and in the end, everything turns out ordinary and happy?
Not a very interesting story idea, I'm afraid.
But sometimes, in my philosophical moods, I wonder: Why is this so? By relying on tension and conflict, am I appealing to the lower elements within us all to peddle my stories? Am I preying on that same instinct that causes us to gawk at accidents, peer out the windows at neighbors in trouble, and gossip around the water cooler over coworkers cheating on their spouses?
Maybe...But I think there's more to it than that.
We relish the drama and tension and opposition in a good story, but we also cheer for the hero who overcomes it, or at the least, sympathize with the protagonist as they sink under it.
I don't think I'm glorifying suffering and opposition – I'm helping provide readers with an escape from the struggles in their own lives, at least for a short while. Or at least I'm connecting with them on a fundamental level and giving them validation that we ALL endure opposition in some ways.
It's not only what makes a good story. It's what makes us human.
So what do you think?
Thanks for visiting -- see you the rest of this month for more alphabetical fun!
And -- from today (12/14/12): Again, thanks for visiting as reading this revived post as part of the 2012 Deja Vu Blogfest!!!