Sometimes we write half the book before we realize we don’t really know what the heroine’s problem is. Sure, we know she wants to find true love. We even know she can’t have her true love because he’s engaged to someone else. Or he’s in a coma. Or he’s a terrorist. Okay, maybe not that one, but you get the picture.
Or our hero is going to save all the little children who fell down a mineshaft. Or he must stop the killer before he strikes again.
Good problems to be sure, but our characters need a personal problem as well. Something besides the killer breathing down his neck or threat of a mine collapse or the love of our lady-fair’s life lying in a coma.
Let’s have a little fun here. Instead of how-to tips to teach how to come up with that inner conflict, let’s post examples.
For my current work in progress, my heroine wants a little respect. Yup.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. No one takes her seriously. Not her husband or her sons or the man who rams into her car. Everyone walks all over her. She allows it, thinking it makes her a submissive, godly woman. In reality she’s a coward. She doesn’t want to face her son’s drug use or her husband’s apathy or her own lazy parenting. As the story progresses she finds herself in a position that requires true courage. Yes, a real bad guy who wants to kill her. When she sees she can overcome an external giant, she knows, through Christ, she can overcome the lies Satan has made her believe her whole life that she is ineffective, insignificant and unworthy of respect.
What about the hero/heroine of your current work? What’s her problem and how does she overcome it? Sharing your character’s obstacles may help another writer develop growth in his own characters.
March 6, 2012.
The Jewish feast of Purim starts today at sundown and last until tomorrow at sundown. Though Purim is not mentioned as one of the seven Feasts of Israel, it is said to be a happy celebration based on a time when Persia (present day Iran) had a Jewish queen, Esther, and Queen Esther was helpful in keeping the Jewish people from being killed by their captors.
I plan to read the Book of Esther today and tomorrow.