Lesson Five is finding conflict (or lack of) in each of your scenes. Without conflict, you have no scene.
Conflict can be as big and scary as Vanessa vs the evil Military- Galactic Complex, or as simple as Vanessa vs her own guilt complex. Apparently, I’m like most people. I think conflict means violence, raised voices, and general chaos. In a scene, conflict can be something that isn’t Earth shattering. But it has to be there, because without conflict you can’t have the twist (hook) at the end of the scene that makes the reader want to keep reading.
Sounds simple, right? Well, most of my scenes have conflict, but in almost every one I see something more or new I can adjust to punch things up a little. And in a few, I find the dreaded TSTL (too stupid to live conflict) which is certain death for that scene. Some of these deadly scenes can be salvaged, but some are out of here.
I have two days to go on this lesson and then on the Lesson Six, Sharpening up Your Characters. In this lesson, I get to terrorize my characters instead of the other way around. I decide how much they add to the plot, how they can add more, or if they need to disappear.
And, for those of you who may be wondering how many lessons are in this course — try seventeen. Yes, it is a lot. But, when this is all done, my novel will be much better and, I can guarantee, my second novel will be written more quickly and with a lot less pain and suffering.