Conflicts can be multiple or single, simple or complex; they may be person against any of the following: person, family, self, reality, friend, enemy, environment, values, morality, lust, authority, and others.

Action is best shown in-scene with occasional narrative summary for condensed action.

4) Desire and motivation

Characters must have strong desires (more than just needs) that motivate them to make significant changes.  This strong desire must be explored as the story develops.  With story development, careful narrowing (and concentrating) of the characters’ desires strengthens the logic and acceptance of what happens in the story and to the character at every level.

Writers almost always discover that the first and second desires they discern for a character are weak clichés.  This occurs because the desires are not thought out enough or targeted accurately.  Only after digging deeply into the story, and only after layers of characterization have been created, can the perfect desire of a character be discovered.

5) Inner (emotional) and outer (action) plots


Emotional (inner) story

* The plot line is dependent on good characterization.  It represents the emotional flow of the characters.  It generates and explains motives.

* All thoughts and emotions should be reasonable to the character’s life, education and intelligence.  Errors will reduce the emotional impact and believability of the character.

Action (outer story)

* The outer story is dependent on conflict, action, and resolution.  It should be logical and have evidence of clear cause and effect.  Careful choice of in-scene or narrative telling is crucial for good storytelling.

H.  Dialogue

Dialogue in fiction is not the way people speak in real life.  Transcribed speech tends to be flat and boring.  Dialogue in fiction must meet its responsibility to the storytelling, must be interesting, and must serve multiple purposes.  These purposes include exposition (description of basic facts), time orientation, scene placement, sensory perceptions, emotional states, conflict, characterization (how a character speaks, thinks, or feels), plot advancement, theme support, enlightenment (of character and reader), and others that authors discover as they write that are specific to each new story (see Example 3 and Example 4).

Fiction dialogue must meet readers’ expectations; dialogue must also be appropriate for the story style and individual characters’ personalities, and the dialogue must seem real in their world.