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Tuesday Tip: Start a Fight

by BLH on February 19th, 2013

Tuesday tips is a category of posts here at Writerly Life promises to offer concrete tips for improving or kickstarting your writing. The tips that fall into this category are the sorts that you can do today or even right now.

Did you just write another scene in which everyone got along well? Was that past scene yet another one in which everybody was just a little gently sad? One rut that writers can fall into is capturing these dull, limp scenes because they might seem more “subtle” or somehow intellectual. We don’t want our stories to become like Jerry Springer, after all, but we don’t want dull, conflict-free scenes to limp along one after the other, either. So today, it’s time to throw a little extra spice into the soup.

Today, take a look at the scene you wrote most recently. Try turning the scene into a fight. Instead of having everybody leave with a feeling of mutual cooperation and understanding, let the scene escalate. Have some characters express conflicting desires. After all, in real life, if you’re having a bad day, you can let small statements get under your skin. You can become annoyed and then furious. And then things can get ugly. In your story, characters are not always at their best, most understanding versions of themselves. Sometimes, they’re going to prickly, the same way real people are. And that’s good for a story. So allow a conflict to unravel instead of tidily picking up all the loose threads. Let conflict happen; let something emotionally dangerous be possible in your story. And then come on back to Writerly Life and tell us how it all went.


From → Writing Tips

One Comment
  1. Great advice, and I’ll let y’all know how it goes when I add a nice fight to the next chapter of my work-in-progress.

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