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Internal conflicts covering multiple stories

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Yora, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Yora

    Yora Inkling

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    I am working on an idea for a series about a single main character that consists of multiple self-contained mid-length story, in the range of short novels. In addition to making each story self-contained to a degree where they can stand entirely on their own, I also want to keep open the option of writing new stories at any points of the overall timeline.

    While this can be used for various benefits, it also raises a major problem with internal conflict. You can use it as a kind of theme for several stories, but you can't really ever show its conclusive resolution. I guess you could eventually, but most of the stories would not see the internal conflict resolved.

    I already made things a bit easier on me by having the character go through three different phases of development covering roughly a decade each, which each have their own internal conflict. At first she is driven by curiosity about the supernatural but has to deal with not really knowing what she is doing and being too impulsive to play things safe. Later she has more experience, skill, and confidence and wants to use her powers to do good, but is too reckless and gets into unnecessary conflicts. Eventually she leaves this recklessness and turns into a leader who organizes others against supernatural threats but never trusts her underlings enough and insists on trying to everything important herself.
    Great internal conflicts for three stories, but when I spread them out over more, I am not certain that each story can be resolved satisfying enough with just the external conflict of the day getting wraped up.
     
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    This sounds like growing up. There are points where one thinks one has it figured out. There was a problem, an issue, usually involving both internal and external conflict, that one thinks got solved. But then some new circumstance arose, and that learned lesson was either irrelevant or flat out wrong. So, new conflict.

    These challenges can involve relationships, children, the job, the new job, politics, friends, health, aging, all sorts of things. And, per the above, every one of them requires re-evaluation multiple times.

    I think you have plenty of room for resolution with a single work while leaving room for expansion in subsequent works. Not that it will be easy to pull off.
     
    Yora likes this.
  3. Yora

    Yora Inkling

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    Each flaw can manifest itself in various different external conflicts. She doesn't have to repeat the same mistake several times, but I could write about different conflicts that each reflect the current flaw. This avoids repetition while still allowing for many resolutions. Because she has learned from one mistake and won't repeat it doesn't mean she fully overcame the underlying flaw that lead to it.
    And I happen to have a preference for more plot driven narratives than character driven ones, which lines up quite well with a focus on external conflicts and putting internal conflicts into the subtext.

    Good idea. Seems like a useful direction to go with.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    You might take a look at detective novels. They have the same character across multiple novels with each novel being its own resolution. Instead of solving the case, it would be taking out whatever threat. Alongside that would be personal problems, difficulties with the home office (er, castle), and so on.
     
  5. Shreeder4092

    Shreeder4092 New Member

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    This is a good idea! If I may ask, what kind of supernatural threats are they facing?
     
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