From the Archives: this post was originally posted on my WriterAmandaMcDonald Blog on March 5, 2010. It is neat to say that four years later (almost) this exercise still works.
I was reading a great article trying to get focused on finding
theme-based conflicts for my main character that tied to the
over-arching project's conflict.
The following exercise I found in 'The Writer,' Magazine, March 2010 edition on page 35.
"Part One: Ask yourself what the character most desires, substituting your own desires.
-What does she care about? What strongly motivates her?
is she actively moving toward or trying to get? If you know she's
involved in something, be aware of that and create an actual measurable
goal around it.
-What keeps her going-focused and committed- when the going gets rough?
needs to be done that only she can do? Or what needs to be saved,
protected, solved or figured out that only she can do? What is her plan
for doing this?
Part Two: Make a list of antagonists
who trip up your character on her way to achieving her goals. Think
beyond one key antagonist-the villain. To keep the conflict realistic,
create as many antagonists as you can. Try for one or more of each of
the basic antagonists as you can. Try for one or more of each of the
basic antagonists, such as: other people, nature, societal demands and
expectations, religious or spiritual beliefs, internal flaws, fears and
Hope this two part exercise
works well for everyone. Give it a shot... I'm going to do it, and if
it doesn't reveal too much about my plot and story then I will post
Take care fellow writers or passionate readers!