Conflict and Tension

Today we had a break from the cold winter temps, so my dog Holly and I enjoyed a long walk.
But we’d barely made it back inside, when it started pouring rain.

Now if I’d been writing a story, this would have been much too easy a course for my characters. They took a nice walk and escaped the drenching rain without batting an eye. Absolutely no TENSION or CONFLICT.

In a real story, poor Holly and I would have been bent over double, battling the high winds. The thunder would have rumbled around us, lightening sparked. And of course, we would have scrambled and scraped to make it back in time–only to have been walloped with a downpour mere steps from safety.

A good story needs plenty of TENSION and CONFLICT. Here’s some examples in books I’ve been reading:

DIRTY GERT by Tedd Arnold. A young child adores dirt, so much so that she finally starts to sprout.

THE DARK by Lemony Snicket. A young boy is terribly scared of the dark, and one night it invites him into the basement.

FOG ISLAND by Tomi Ungerer. A boy and girl become lost in their boat during the fog. When they land on Fog Island, they climb the slippery stairs and meet an enchanted wizard.

Can you find examples of TENSION and CONFLICT in one of your favorite stories?
Can you write a story filled with TENSION and CONFLICT?

I think it’s quite fun to amp up wattage in a story. Give it a try. It’s nice for your characters to arrive eventually at a happy ending–but don’t make it too easy for them.

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