External conflict is everything that happens outside of the character or to the character. Writers use external conflict to place obstacles in the characters’ paths, but they also use external conflict to color the story, quicken or slow the pace, and add diversity to the narrative structure.
Characters fill our stories, and many writing instructors or teachers will say that characters are what drive a story and what brings readers in.
Tension is the sense that something is about to happen, whether that be good or bad. We often think bad or negative when we think about tension. But we don’t have to. We can use tension in our fiction to build joy between friends solidifying or even mending a friendship. Using tension, we can keep our readers in our stories, wondering what happens next.
While themes and thematic statements crop up throughout our stories, we can consciously weave them into our work to drive the desired effects in our readers. Once we make the choice of what themes and what thematic statement we want to write with, we can start layering them into our works, enhancing both our stories and our themes.
Like thematic statements, themes aren’t necessary, though readers may find themes in your work you did not intend. To help steer your story in the right direction in the reader’s mind, elect specific themes you want to explore in your story. Now, a theme can be any idea like love, dating, alcoholism, fighting, capitalism, or stoicism. The list goes on and on.
How our characters move through our stories is just as important as who they are within our stories. In fact, a character’s actions and movements give the reader insight into who our characters are and so much more.