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Having depth in your characters makes them more believable and having them face conflict makes them more interesting. At Live Write Breathe, Janalyn Voigt gives us examples of conflict that will help you develop your characters and then throws in a little psychology too. Check out the whole series!
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Inner Conflict in Fiction
Inner Conflict in Fiction (Conflict in Fiction, Making it Real Series, Part 4)
Understanding the dynamics of inner conflict in psychology can help you create believable characters who tap into emotions common to us all. Portraying inner conflict believably in fiction requires that we understand its ways and means. In this article, we’ll cover the four models of inner conflict in psychology, with examples from my own writing.
This post is a continuation of “Tap the Psychology of Conflict in Your Fiction,” which I recommend reading first.
1. Choosing Between Two Positive Outcomes
Your character needs to choose between two equal desires that are mutually exclusive, resulting in tension. The stronger the opposing desires and more serious the consequences, the harder the struggle. Giving your character traits that deepen the conflict will make it even more compelling. ‘You can’t eat your cake and eat it, too’ is an expression that perfectly frames this sort of problem. In psychology, this is called the approach-approach conflict.
Such a dilemma arises in DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven, book 1) because the hero, Kai, who has sworn to protect the High Queen of Faeraven, will be freed from his pledge at her death. Since that event seems imminent, both Kai’s parents press him not to bow his knee to the heir of Faeraven who will take over the high throne at his mother’s death but to take over the responsibilities of heir to their kingdom in the absence of his missing older brother. The consequences of refusing them are that his parent’s kingdom is likely to be absorbed into a neighboring one.
The new High King will be an untried youth, and Kai’s loyalty to the High Queen, love of the life he leads in her service, and drive to fulfill his duty, sometimes at the expense of relationships, makes this a gut-wrenching decision for him.
Read the full post on Live Write Breathe
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