“The story… must be a conflict, and specifically, a conflict between the forces of good and evil within a single person.”
The words of author Maxwell Anderson. It’s an interesting observation. The default mode regarding “conflict” is Protagonist versus Antagonist, where the discord externalized between two pivotal characters.
Anderson steers us toward an internal conflict waged inside a character.
Easy to do in a novel where we can enter into the mind of characters and determine what they’re feeling and thinking.
Not so easy in a screenplay.
Hence the value of a Protagonist-Nemesis dynamic.
However even with that dynamic set in place, we want to explore the internal tensions at work in key characters, especially the Protagonist. Through dialogue, relationships with other characters, and actions, we can hear and see their psychological issues, dynamics that make what transpires in the plot that much more compelling and interesting.
The story must be a conflict.
I encourage you to head to comments to discuss today’s questions. And for a related discussion on The Black Board, check out these topics:
- 7 Basic Conflicts
- Alan Alda: Let the character be in a pickle
- Cleaver’s Mathematics of Fiction
- Elevating ‘conflict’ to ‘CONFLICT’
- Everything you ever wanted to know about conflict
- John Yorke on the key to great protagonist/antagonist match-ups
- More about nemeses & antagonists
The Quest” has entered Week 22! And so did Go On Your Own Quest, an opportunity for anyone to follow the structure of “The Quest” to dig into screenwriting theory [Core - 8 weeks], figure out your story [Prep - 6 weeks], and write a first draft [Pages - 10 weeks]. It’s a 24-week immersion in the screenwriting process and you can do it here – for free!
Today and every Monday through Friday for 10 weeks, I’ll use this slot to post something inspirational as GOYOQ participants pound out their first drafts.
Why not use the structure of this 24-week workshop to Go On Your Own Quest? That was an idea that gathered energy among many members of the GITS community which I described here.
For more information on Go On Your Own Quest, go here.
Plus you can join The Black Board, the Official Online Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story, another free resource to help keep you inspired and on target at you Go On Your Own Quest from FADE IN to FADE OUT on the first draft of your original screenplay.