Tuesday, December 17, 2019

3T Writing Tidbit

This is another in my 25 Ways You're Losing Readers (and what you can do about it) series.

Crank the conflict!! But are you making this big mistake?

We're told over and over to increase the drama, make it matter more, crank the conflict. But where are the limits? Are there any?

I'd answer most definitely. And it's an easy line to find.

One of the most popular SciFi dramas on TV early this century was Battlestar Galactica. I love science fiction of all sorts, and with watchable characters and high dramatic tension, I should have loved this. But I didn't.

The show was full of hot-tempered, impulsive people punching each other for very little reason or turning on each other at the drop of a hat. Lots of conflict! But it was such stupid conflict.

Later, when Stargate Universe came out as a carbon copy of Battlestar Galactica, I understood why.

See, the original Stargate SG1 was about a team working together. They tried to solve their problems with tact and diplomacy before they waded in punching. And they rarely undermined each other. Stargate Universe put conflict within the team. They weren't heroes--they weren't even very good people.

And there's the bottom line. There are things your hero wouldn't do. Things no hero would do, like striking someone weaker, or lying for their own gain, or stealing from the poor.

So in your quest to crank the tension, you shouldn't do them, either. No matter how dramatic they may seem.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits. Click here to see all 25 Ways You're Losing Readers.

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