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Why Conflict Is Key When Self-publishing
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Self-Publishing a Novel that Sells
It's essential for a novel you are self-publishing to have a strong plot if you want it to do well. Writers often finish their first draft only to realise their plot is somewhat meandering, and there isn't really enough to draw readers in and make them care about the characters. Don't despair just yet. Most plots can still be saved from this problem. The most common issue is a lack of conflict and jeopardy. Characters usually need someone or something to rally against. This helps the plot move forwards, adds drama and draws the reader in.
The Different Types of Conflict
If your characters had it too easy in the first draft, it's time to shake things up a little. Theoretically, there are four main types of conflict used in novels:
Characters against society - The characters are threatened by their surroundings and have to take a stand to save themselves and sometimes society from a manmade problem.
Characters against characters - This is the classic hero and villain narrative. Is there a character who threatens your protagonist's aims? If so, the novel is likely to build to a confrontation of some kind between them.
Characters against self - Protagonists often start out as fairly unlikable, only to overcome these problems during the plot and change for the better.
Characters against nature - Dangerous fantastical creatures, animals and weather events are frequently used to add drama and conflict into narratives.
Almost all conflict in novels can be categorised into one of these four. The first two are the most common, and characters often face more than one. Be careful not to overdo it, however. A plot without any kind of conflict will feel flat and pointless. Your characters need to take a journey and be changed by something along the way. Some kind of conflict is usually the driving force behind this change, forcing them to take action.
Dealing With First Draft Problems When Self-Publishing
When publishing your own work, it's important to get someone else to read through it. If they say some parts are a little boring, you should usually either delete them or add some conflict. Don't feel downhearted if you are unhappy with your first draft. The chances are you simply need an external prospective. Getting someone with no investment - not a friend or family member - to give an honest analysis is one of the best ways to do this. While it might be slightly demoralising at the moment, sticking at it will ensure the self-publishing company you choose print a novel you can be proud of.
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