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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Increasing your climactic conflict

When I took a seminar taught by New York agent Donald Maass, the one thing I took away was that most of the manuscripts he sees don’t have enough Conflict with a capital C.

There are lots of ways to increase conflict, but the biggest is to make it the climax of your story.

It’s easy to do—ask yourself, what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen to my character?

Then have it happen and ruin your character’s life right at the climactic moment near the end.

I can see you cringing, but it must be done. Grow a backbone. Sock it to your character.

If your heroine is afraid of death, have it stare her in the face in the climax. If your hero wants to save his ranch, have a tornado destroy it. If your heroine needs a heart transplant, have her donated organ arrive unviable. If your hero is trying to catch the serial killer, have him realize he’s been after the wrong suspect the entire time.

Be brutal! Be ruthless! Be evil!

You’ll discover how absolutely GREAT your book’s climax can be if you do.

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