Written on Saturday, December 06, 2008 by haleigh

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

And no, I'm not referring to GMC cars, though everything I read on both sides of the bail out debate depresses me, but rather the lovely Goals, Motivations, and Conflicts of our characters.

Somehow, even though I made lists about this and did character sketches, this must have gone straight over my head. The contest comments I got back this week? All three judges agreed on one thing (always a bad sign, when they agree!).

The heroine's character had no discernible conflict.

Uh, can I just say opps? I thought, "yes she does!" and kept thinking it through and realized, uh, no, she doesn't. It wasn't just that I forgot to make it clear in the synopsis what her internal conflict is, I forgot it all together!!

So I started thinking about Shae and all the wacky things she does over the course of the manuscript, and suddenly, her internal conflict was clear.

She has trust issues.

Now, I realize this is a new, exciting, and unique internal conflict. Uh, not. It's cliche. But it works. And not only does it work, but as soon as that crystallized in my head, the ending fixed itself. Literally. I'd been trying to figure out what to do about the end, because I don't particularly like it as it is now, and the new ending just appeared. And it's perfect.

Anybody else forget something so simple, that when it's pointed out, it fixes everything? Anybody have any pesky characters who are hiding what their internal conflict is?

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  1. Jessica |

    Hmm, I thought she had internal conflict and thought it was spelled out fairly well. Plus, doesn't she try to ruin good things? Like, she self-sabotages? LOL
    But then again, GMC is definitely my weak area. Only I have trouble with external goals. Hummph.
    Sorry about the comments, but something like that can be easy to fix with a few, well-placed sentences.

    I think.

  2. haleigh |

    Hi Jessie!

    She's a self-sabotager! That's it. She's one of those people who runs whenever it gets messy. She bolts like three times in story. So that's the new ending. Cole thinks she's run away, he finally decides to track her down, only to realize that she never left. It's cute in a sappy sort of way.

    I think you're right, that her internal conflict was there in the MS, but the problem was that I hadn't thought it through enough to really see it and flush it out. I think it's all coming together now :)

  3. Jessica |

    I may have read more than the judges too, so that's why I know. Do you still start out with the dancing, then her walking home? That may have thrown them. It's when she's with Cole that I really saw stuff.
    That does sound cute, and just like him to track her down. LOL

  4. haleigh |

    I think you're exactly right Jessie - the comments were that by the end of the first chapter, it wasn't clear what anyone's goals were, or even who they were. I think you read through chapter 8, so you got it :) I just need to find a way to hook readers into the characters early on, without giving away too much.

    *sigh* just when I think I have a handle on this writing thing, something else pops up that I need to figure out...

  5. Jessica |

    You're telling me. I just got back super bad contest scores. grrr.

  6. Kelly Krysten |

    Yah, takes me lots of drafts to figure out these things! I'm miserable at planning and pants it. So I always wind up with lost threads and plot holes. Glad you found your solution! What contests did you enter?

    PS: I'm going to be reading your story soon. I can't wait!!:)

  7. Marnee Jo |

    Hal, I'm nearly done reading and I agree with Jessica. Shae's a total self-sabotager. I also think her internal conflict was pretty spelled out too, though I can imagine you could spell it out a few places without any difficulty.

  8. haleigh |

    Hi Kelly! You know, I plot, and I stil have the same problem! Plotting doesn't fix that :) I was in the Susannah and the Becon contests. Didn't final in either, but got some good feedback fromt he Becon contest this week too.

    Hey Marn - yep, that's the perfect description of her. the version you're reading is the one I fixed to make her internal conflict more clear (so I'm glad it worked! :)

  9. Marnee Jo |

    I'm almost done too. Holidays are sucking up my life. (Holiday party tonight. So fun.)


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