Friday 18 February 2011


The Center for Writing Excellence is a place where I love to lurk and learn; check out Janie Sullivan's Blog

Dr. Laurel York, author of Take Your Characters to Dinner, created a check list of conflicts.

This is one of them:


Give both sides options.

Give them a voice and a fully formed shape.

Tension is what makes the story begin but  friction between the characters or other elements of the story makes it continue. 

nternal or external conflict: it is the shifting balance between the elements that keeps the reader involved in the story. 

  • Main character against him or herself
  • Main character against society
  • Main character against another character
  • Main character against nature

The main character should be at war with him/herself - needs, wants, duties or responsibilities
He/she should question society but see the advantages and disadvantages of it.
The protagonist and antagonists should both be fully rounded, driven and struggling to do what, in their opinion, is the correct thing.
It is hard to argue against nature but the main character can find and lose advantages and benefit from lulls in the storm.

Characterisation and realistic details are the core of believable fiction.

I love the BBC drama, Garrow's Law, which is about an 18th century barrister at the Old Bailey Court. William Garrow was a passionate believer in social and legal justice. He championed the poor and was critical of the corrupt reward-driven criminal justice system of the day. The Arts and Humanities Research Council has funded a digital archive project detailing the lives of non-elite people. The Old Bailey Online is a fabulous writers' resource.


  1. Wow, I like the Triangle of Empowerment, great tool. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Talei
    The key points are always worth considering when creating characters. It's quite useful with people too ;)

  3. I love empowerment in myself, therefore many of my stories are about that, inevitably.

    And of going beyond any boundary and limitation.

  4. Amos
    That is quite a life you have there. Empowerment is vine.