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I would like to write a fictional novel with lots of suspense and action with a love story imbedded in it all.  i have a few ideas, but I am having trouble finding a good central conflict, because of it, the story is lacking purpose and interest...what can i do to help find some good ideas for conflict?

Hello Marie,

Unfortunately, you are expecting a miracle solution that would be "forced."

By forced, I mean, grabbing at ideas and trying to "work them in" to get your end result= central conflict.

It can not be done-- well, it can, but even the best of writers couldn't pull it off without it reading as "forced."

The secret to any conflicts, and they are not "central conflicts" they are "sub-plots."

A sub-plot, which can be many throughout the book, are things that happen, daily lives of your characters, their feelings and issues, things beyond their control that they have to deal with, any crisis, drama; love, hate, death... anything.

First you have to have real, 3-D characters. They have, and must, be alive. So alive, they write their own story, their own conflicts, their own set of problems and solutions, and resolutions.

A good writer, a good book, is written by the good characters that the good writer created and allowed to "evolve and develop."

Once your main characters have evolved and developed, taking on unique personalities, thus coming to life, their characteristics and moral, principals, and personalities. write the book for you. You are just the messenger.

To create real, believable, alive 3-D characters, start a Character Profile Sheet on each, and allow that person (character) to be "born" and "grow."

Not only physical characteristics. like hair and eye color, possible scars, surgeries, health, height, weight, etc. but their birth date and place of birth, where they grew up; farm or suburbs, education, college, their current job/profession, likes and dislikes: favorite color, favorite foods, favorite movies and music, favorite clothing, favorite ice cream for that matter... how they were raised, their parents and their parent's personalities and beliefs, everything that makes a human a human. Do they dislike cats and favor dogs? Do they have fears and phobias? All these things. Even a bit of OCD!

Once these characters are REAL, your job is to write what THEY tell you and you simply guide them in the main plot of the book- they write the sub-plots and conflicts, guiding you.

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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