Isn’t it funny how a simple family drive can turn to all out war in a matter of milliseconds? The kids screaming, the radio blaring, the vehicle rolling through rush hour traffic at a snail’s pace. No one can escape; you’re all strapped into a road trip from hell until you reach your final destination. That is unless you’re still close enough to turn back for home. Do people really do that by the way? I’ve always heard it threatened. Never seen it done though.
When it comes to conflict with our characters, we must be careful not to strap our readers in for an adventure and give them the car ride from hell instead. For a reader, getting there is half the fun. Making them work to hard through obstinate characters will cause them to throw your book out the window.
A lot of fun can be had with playful banter, but you must take care not to let it turn into bickering. The “yes I did” “No you didn’t” dialog can only last so long without a strong enough conflict and even then you may be stretching your readers patience if you let it drag on too long without change or resolution.
I’m not really an expert on literary debate, but I do have a few tips for keeping your character conflict fresh.
· Make it funny- Throw in a few jokes here and there to liven things up.
· Make it hot- if bantering could hold any angle for increasing the sexual tension between characters, go for it!
· Keep it playful- little nicknames and witty comebacks are always welcome
· And above all else, use the banter advancing the plot.