Writing Exercises

Author Aerobics: Layered Conflict Challenge

Want to join in? Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this writing prompt, post a link to your entry in the comments below, and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Layered Conflict Challenge

Conflict is what moves your story along. There are two main types of conflict: external and internal. External conflict includes the physical obstacles to your protagonist’s goal. It is what is happening around him/her. Internal conflict includes the dilemmas within the head of your protagonist.

I’ve also heard of including interpersonal conflict. Interpersonal conflict overlaps with the external and internal modes. It may, or may not, be important, depending on the type of story you are writing, but I find it’s a simple way to add extra depth any time there are multiple characters in a story.

This week’s challenge: Write a story (1000 words or less) that involves multiple layers of conflict. This week’s theme: “shadows”.

Further Reading:


This week’s stories!

  • Nipping at Mani’s Heels by Aidan Fritz – Lothar will do anything to vanquish the shadows for his daughters. He makes a bargain he may regret.
  • The Shadow Pilgrim by Stephen Watkins – Do you know why night flees the day, and why day flees the night?
  • Quick Draw by T.S. Bazelli – The sun was shining and the air smelled of rain. It was a good day to die.

16 Comments

  1. I love layered conflict! My professor used to say, the scene should never be ABOUT what it’s about. Otherwise it tends to fall flat. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Hehe, well I figured I started a theme, so I might as well roll with it! 😉 All those things remind me of summer days and nights. I’m trying to enjoy the summer while it lasts!

      I hope so too!

  2. Harry Markov

    I am sooooooooo in. SHADOWS!!!!!!!! I love shadows.

    Getting the layered conflict might be a bit of a challenge though. I am a one conflict at a time kind of guy. 😀 But I will manage.

  3. My first thought is that I already introduced the theme of shadows (as well as the stated theme of light) in my last Author Aerobics story… since there was something about that story that was interesting but which left me unfulfilled (since it was a rush-job), I wonder if I shouldn’t revisit the world of that story just to see what else there is to it.

    1. There was one throw-away line that referred to the “brighthands” escorting “shadow pilgrims”. I had no explanation, at the time, for what “shadow pilgrims” are.

      But yes… light and shadow do go together, don’t they?

  4. *waves* Hey sis! I’d love to join in on this, but I’m too long winded. *grins* 1000 words…only?! I’m happy to lurk here though! So consider me lurk-ed.

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