Does your novel require conflict? If so, why? If not, why not?
Jonathan posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
Why do books HAVE to be about conflict to be interesting? The human condition isn’t all about conflict, so why should fiction be?
Randy sez: Books don’t have to have conflict to be interesting. I have on my shelf a perfectly fascinating 700 page book titled: PROBABILITY THEORY: THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE, by E.T. Jaynes. This book is brilliant. One of the best I’ve ever read. And it has zero conflict.
You may object that this book is nonfiction. Well, yes. Nonfiction doesn’t require conflict. Nonfiction teaches you something you want to know.
Fiction always has conflict, for the simple reason that conflict is part of the definition of fiction. The simplest definition of fiction I ever heard was told me by Sherwood Wirt: “Fiction is characters in conflict.”
If you don’t have characters, you don’t have a novel. If you don’t have conflict between the characters, you don’t have a novel.
What do my loyal blog readers think? Is it remotely possible to write a novel without conflict? Can you think of an example? Post a comment and tell us all what you think!
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.