Holiday Musings on Conflict

I’m now back from the seaside: the weather was decent, the sea was cold and the villages were quaint and lovely, despite the fact that I was ill. I had no voice for two whole days – talk about a quiet holiday (excuse the pun)!

I managed to read one whole book of around 400 pages. I didn’t find it a brilliant read – but then I’m not really one for young adult fantasy so it’s not really surprising that I found it a bit slow, too focused on one major character and somewhat confusing with all the folklore and magic circles to follow. I was frustrated with the pace of the story – the majority of it describing an epic journey and then, just as this journey is over, the author throws in a big conflict and the characters set out again ready for another adventure. It’s part one of a series, so I intend to read the others, but I didn’t expect to feel that the story was faltering on occasion. I imagined young adult fiction to be fast-paced and exciting, but I  found that this one was deliberately slow with a lot of internal conflict being explored by the protagonist and barely a glimpse of a sub-plot.

However, it has made me realise that in my NaNoWriMo novel plan I have not allowed for much internal conflict for my main characters. I have lot of outward conflict – the antagonist adamant on claiming his power, the perils of being hunted in the wilderness, the fight to protect one’s kin – yet I’m a bit thin on the ground for more personal issues. I suppose the main thing my lead character has to focus on is the challenge of controlling her own powers and realising the sheltered life she was previously brought up in has been concealing a wicked lie that has kept her, amongst others, prisoner. She also leaves behind her sister, not comprehending the dangers they will both face, so perhaps that could be worked in as internal anguish and regret throughout the narrative.

Just writing the above paragraph makes me think that perhaps the story I have created is very typically teen-fiction. It appears full of stereotypes and cliches that are commonly explored in a lot of the novels I am already aware of. I’m not quite sure is this is a positive awareness that defines my idea as young adult fiction or if it signifies a need for some major overhaul in order to cleanse my attempts of the regular story-lines often over-used in this genre.

Perhaps this break has allowed me enough distance from my own material in order to analyse it afresh. Thus, it seems I have much to think about now I have returned from holiday.

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3 responses to “Holiday Musings on Conflict

    • Spent time today working on some character stuff: found out some interesting possibilities for internal conflict for a couple of characters, so at least that’s something. Now just have to remember to include some internal dialogue for exploration of said conflict!
      Thanks for reading,
      Take care, Cat

  1. Interesting. I would have assumed that YA was more fast paced too. Is this a well known writer of YA? I’m just wondering if she is obscure. If she is, maybe there is a reason for her being obscure. Of course, I don’t really know. I’ve never read a YA novel. Going on a holiday myself in a week. Trying to pick out a good story to read.

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