Conflict Box

This isn't the book I meant to work on today.

I decided to catch up on the He Wrote, She Wrote writing workshop blog, and Jenny Crusie's post on the Conflict Box struck me as useful. Diplomacy is at a point where I need to take a look at the plot and make sure the conflicts are solid and all the characters are working towards their goals and butting heads.

So I made a Conflict Box, or at least a modified version thereof. Instead of one protagonist and one antagonist, I have two of each. And rather than listing only Goal and Conflict for each character, I listed Goal, Means, and Obstacle. (Which could be rephrased as Desire, Goal, Conflict, I guess.)

Warning: For the at least one person reading this who avoids spoilers, even for unfinished unpublished books you're never going to read, there are spoilers in my diagram.

Conflict Box for Diplomacy

(Click on it once to enlarge it, and click again to enlarge it again.)
(Yes, it would have been faster to do by hand, but it's easier to edit this way.)

So is it useful? Maybe. Having character goals, and how they plan to achieve their goals, is very useful. But I had those already. I had the obstacles already too, but drawing this did help me consider whether they're useful obstacles. Also, as I begin the rewrite, it gives me something to focus on. In the first draft, Conway doesn't really appear until somewhere in the middle, because I didn't know what the plot was. He ends up kind of important, so I shouldn't ignore him…

I do want to add a Resolution column, because it would be good to know that all the conflicts are resolved. Especially since the details of how is the part I'm stuck on right now. 🙂

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