Conflicts

So as I meet my daily word count goal, I let myself play with this new series idea. This is my very first time attempting a series, so I’m turning over the big arc in my head, while at the same time working on characters as I try to work out conflicts for the individual stories.

According to the article in the last RWR, the conflict comes from the core belief, so I’m looking at my characters and building their conflict.

I have the bar owner who wants to get the hell out of Dodge. He’s been losing money on his bar for years. He wants to sell and move–he has no takers. His heroine has to be married to the place, don’t you think?

I have a teacher who’s a fish out of water, and also has a secret past. So her hero has to work for the newspaper.

I have a waitress who wants to marry wealthy–she’s struggled all her life and wants to be taken care of. She has a flirtation with the town doctor, and is hopeful, but is going to fall for someone else–maybe a forest ranger type.

So far I’m thinking the conflicts are different enough for the series.

Have you ever worked on a series before? What secrets do you have to share?

I love this picture a lot, too.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MicheleKS
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:25:09

    Most of the series I read are connected by either plot or characters or both together. For example, some series are just about the characters but each book stands alone plot-wise (like the Stephanie Plum mystery series). Other series have a contiuning plot line with new leads in each book and past charcters as supporting players (like the series I’m reading right now: Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling). With a series I don’t think it’s as much about overall conflict but about how the books are linked together- what makes it a series? Is it a set of characters, a major plot line running through each book, or both? I think in a series you have the individual conflicts of each book plus the overall theme that ties the series together.

    Reply

  2. mjfredrick
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 17:49:37

    Thanks, Michelle. My plan is to have a continuing plot line with new main characters in each book, though the others will be present in all the books. I was thinking it was going to be 4 books, but now I’m thinking the conflict will be stronger with each if I just do 3.

    Reply

  3. mary beth
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 23:32:48

    After reading the Stieg Larsson series I’d say to find the real conflict, find the thing they value most internally (freedom, trust, secrecy, being right, etc) and have the other person be the absolute worse for that.
    In the Larsson series, you have this girl who absolutely just wants to be left alone who hates everything dealing with police and social workers. You don’t know why. But you know when the guy shows up and he’s a celebrated newspaper reporter things are going to get dicey. They don’t get dicey because of him being a reporter. They get dicey because he has this innate desire to “save” the girl and she has no desire to be saved. In fact, she hates that kind of thing. She’s independent. She’s her own person. Anyone who tries to change that is a danger to her. So much so she might even physically hurt the person trying to help her. It took two books to understand the whys of that, but as a reader I didn’t have to know the why. I saw her reaction to his attempt to help, and I saw him continuing to try to help, and I kept turning the pages.
    Those books really helped me see conflict in a different light.
    THEN I read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series books 1-3, and she does the same thing.
    The conflict character isn’t necessarily based on the main character’s job or a character trait. It’s the person who emotionally is their worst case scenario. It’s not the situation that makes them the worst case scenario, it’s who they are or aren’t through and through.
    Of course, this could be completely wrong. 🙂

    Reply

  4. mjfredrick
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 09:19:06

    That makes perfect sense, Mary Beth. I have the first Karen Moning book in that series. I don’t think I can read the Stieg books, though.

    Reply

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