Plot Exercise 2: Define the Conflict(s)

Exercise 2: Define the Conflict(s)
From Iconoclastic Writer (Step 3)

My Thoughts
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!

Up Next
One-Sentence Plot
From Daily Writing Tips (#2)
Describe your story in one sentence.


2 thoughts on “Plot Exercise 2: Define the Conflict(s)

  1. Sherri says:

    First off I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your
    head prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.

    I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thanks!


    • sara seyfarth says:

      Thanks, Sherri! I definitely have trouble getting started sometimes, too, so you’re not alone in that. 🙂 All of these exercises and brainstorming techniques have been great tools to get myself into the right frame of mind each day. One of the techniques that works best for me, though, is to leave a scene unfinished. That way, I have an immediate jumping-off point when I come back to it. Good luck with your writing!


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