Setting: Resulting Effects

Tension and Conflict

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You’ve probably heard the saying that a good book should have conflict in every scene. This is wise advice, since well-written conflict begets tension for our characters, which can be passed on to readers, who will sense a rise in energy as they feel that nervous, jittery sensation signaling them that something is going on. We all want readers to have that heightened awareness and interest when they’re reading our stories, and a good way to bring that about is through conflict.

While the most obvious source of conflict is an antagonist who opposes our hero and his goal, it’s simply not reasonable (or sensible) to drag him into every chapter. As a result, we have to find other struggles that make sense for each scene. It may not seem like the most intuitive choice, but the setting can be one of the handiest sources of conflict, for a number of reasons. First, every scene has a setting, so it’s already built into your story. And with the sources of conflict inherently included in each location, there’s no need to fabricate them—no lengthy set-up involved to put these difficulties into your protagonist’s path. If you’re wondering what these sources of conflict could be, consider the following:



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