Monday, May 21, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Movies Series: Part 3 by Fay Lamb

Our task as writers is to engage our readers, right? One of the ways we do that is to include the golden element: conflict! Writer and acquisitions editor Fay Lamb is back today to share some helpful tips on including conflict in your fiction. Enjoy!

The Cry for Conflict, Conflict, Conflict
by Fay Lamb

There’s a reason we authors hear the word conflict over and over. Teachers of creative writing shout it from the rooftops: “Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.” Yet so many authors fail to heed this wisdom.

“I go to movies and read books to relax. I don’t need conflict in my life.”

Oh, yeah? Take a look at the movies and books being watched and read. Whether the audience or the reader realizes it, they are loaded with conflict. Name a bestselling novel or a blockbuster movie, and anyone whose read or seen them can tell you about the conflict.

Let’s look at a sweet little love story like Sleepless in Seattle. That’s just about two people falling in love, right? No conflict there. Look again. Meg Ryan’s character thinks her boyfriend is perfect for her. Tom Hanks’ character misses his wife. He’s not looking for another girl. Enter Jonah and the pseudo-doctor on the radio. Enter conflict. These two individuals, minding their own business, going through life, thinking they are happy, or at least coping, are suddenly hit with conflict. Hanks begins to think about moving on after his wife’s death, and he begins looking for someone to date. Meg is drawn toward the man she hears on the radio, and from there forward, their lives are never the same. They’ve been thrust into conflict.

Conflict makes the literary world go around and around. When the conflict is resolved, the story is over.

Andrew is an ex-master thief. He’s getting back into his old life of crime because Hannah, the woman he loves, needs chemotherapy neither can afford. Can you imagine the conflict that could be born from this plot? First of all, Hannah tells him if he returns to his thieving ways, for whatever reason, the next time he’ll see her is at her funeral. What a choice? Watch her die or wonder where she’s gone to die. Add another obstacle to Andrew’s goal. Detective Donovan has been on Andrew’s trail since he left the petty street crime and claimed the title of master thief, but Andrew’s never been caught. Donovan’s come close to nabbing him a few times, and now he’s dogging Andrew’s every step.

Andrew has to now factor Donovan into his scheme.

Every stumbling block toward your character’s goal gives the author what s/he needs to keep his/her story going: Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.


Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing. Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010. In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board. Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.


Not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancĂ©e, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?

Because of Me is available through all fine book retailers, Amazon, and Mountainview Publishing, a division of Treble Heart Books.

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