It’s the Internal Conflict stupid!

Posted on Posted in Romantic Fiction Craft, Starting a New Story, The Writing Life


I have now received feedback from my editor on the first three chapters for my WIP – yes, the one due at the end of May.

It was not pretty.

Why? The opening chapters have to work SO hard to introduce the hero and heroine, their external and internal conflicts, their goals and what is stopping them from achieving those goal, plus a killer hook, an inventive and clever Inciting incident  – and sparkly, witty and page turning would be nice. And of course by chapter 3 the reader should know why this couple are  better together than apart – how each completes the other in some cosmic chemical reaction..


Well on this one, I had ticked most of those boxes and she enjoyed the tone, the dialogue and the character profiles – BUT – the set up was focused on the External conflict rather then setting up why this situation/problem hits the emotional triggers of hero and heroine – based on their internal problems and motivation for wanting to be here/ do this in the first place.

* What would happen if the hero/ heroine did not achieve the goal which spins out at the end of the third chapter? who would care?

* Is it clear from the opening pages that these two people are going on a journey? If they are all sorted and nice and psychologically sound at the start – where are they going to go? what is their character arc?

I had answered the two key questions  – but not in a compelling and interesting way, because I had used a set up plot device to bring them into conflict with only hints at their real internal conflicts – which I had written into the follow on chapters.

So. With 43K written, some hard rewriting is required. I think I can save most of it… Sigh. This one is going to need several rounds of careful editing before it leaves my desk.

Which is how it should be. Hal and Mimi are great characters and Hal is … well, he’s Hal. And I think the readers are going to like him.

Yes, I know. It is early on Monday morning, but hey..

On the home front I spent Saturday morning selling plants for the Conservation Group Plant Sale and it was  good success. Rain stopped play yesterday, but today is Mr Nina’s birthday and normally we would be in the Greek Islands now, but work does not allow. Today Ealing, tomorrow Coventry. So I am travelling up to Coventry this evening to enjoy a hotel dinner. And people watch. Could be fun!  And I have my netbook so I can work in the hotel tomorrow. It’s all go!


Quote of the Day

Write Freely and as Rapidly as Possible

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.


6 thoughts on “It’s the Internal Conflict stupid!

  1. Thanks Lacey, Nell and Jan – and you are quite right Jan – it is tough reworking the first chapters, especially when I loved my opening paragraph, but there you are. Now Back to the slave pit. LOL

  2. Yikes! That must have been hard to swallow. It’s really tough reworking something you thought had been so right. But I’m sure it will be fabulous when complete.

    More power to your elbow, chuck.

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