Exercise 2: Define the Conflict(s)
From Iconoclastic Writer (Step 3)
You may have noticed that I like anything that forces me to look at my characters as a group and see how their goals/motivations/conflicts/etc. interact, so it will come as no surprise that I liked this exercise a lot. I’m writing a romance, so I did use the grid for my hero and heroine. I felt like the antagonist’s conflict would intersect with both of them pretty significantly though, so I decided to do a 3×2 grid instead, with Hero/Heroine/Antagonist as columns and Goal/Obstacles as rows. I also added a “Notes” row.
Before I started the exercise, I’d felt like I had a pretty good handle on my characters’ goals, but looking at those neat little boxes made me work to distill them even further. Then, looking at the three of them all together gave me some great plot ideas…hence the notes row.
Full disclosure: I have these “notes” rows and “brainstorming” boxes and jotted-down sticky notes everywhere now. These exercises are generating lots of ideas!
From Daily Writing Tips (#2)
Describe your story in one sentence.