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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Twenty-Two

Strengthening the Conflict

How to Fuel Your Novel with Complications

Jack Smith

Conflict is the engine that makes the story run. It is essential to creating a strong character, one who's more than a portrait, one who becomes real by undergoing struggles and coming to some realization about self or world. This is what makes the character interesting—as well as the story. We would find it utterly boring to read a story where no conflict occurred, where everyone got along just fine, where no one lost her job, no one lost out in romance, everyone had absolutely everything they needed, no one ever got ill or died. Serious fiction, like life, includes many rug pullings. We may not want the grim, but we do want to experience fiction ...

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