One of the authors that taught me how to be an author wrote that conflict needed to be on every page. All right, sounds easy enough. However, when you are writing 76,000 words it’s not. So how do you find it?
This is something to keep in mind when you are creating your characters. When you give them their occupations, could there be conflict? When you create their families, could clashes occur? What about their histories? What skirmishes might develop?
When developing the plot, what can happen that might cause a fray? Do you find yourself staring at Word trying to think of something?
Read the paper, listen to the news, watch social media, browse the internet. Listen to conversations. Okay, I’m not endorsing eavesdropping. I’m just suggesting that you become aware of the world. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on. (Heck, sometimes I find myself only listening to sports just to get away from all of the conflict in the world).
I’ve found the hard print copy of the newspaper interesting. Turning through the pages, you may read an article that sparks your imagination. A sentence or two might give you some ideas. Go for a run and twist them and turn them in your head. You can try them on for size in regards to one of your characters. See how it fits.
If you find an interesting thought or story, file it. Later on, when your creativity is at a stop sign and won’t move, you can flip through the folder and something might just pop right out and bite you.
This is another time when Excel came in handy for me. I would put some idea of conflict on each tab. It helped me to keep track of the plot and it helped me not to be too repetitive.
So go ahead, start that file. You’ll be glad you did.