A plot B plot with different conflicts. and opposing forces for internal conflict (man against self)

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Henckel
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:30 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

A plot B plot with different conflicts. and opposing forces for internal conflict (man against self)

Postby Henckel » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:50 pm

So, I'm just about finished a first draft of 2 novels. They start in different places and have different characters, but both books end with the respective protagonists of each book meeting each other for climax. So I decided to merge these two novels. Simple A plot, B plot….
…. But my key reservation is that they have different types of conflict. One book's conflict is man against man. The other is man against self.
Would it therefore be inappropriate for me to merge these as a single A plot B plot story?…. Or would this be a good thing?



And as a second question re conflict,... I know stories with external conflicts require an antagonist. But what about a man against self book. His conflict is internal. So what does it say about the obstacles a character must overcome in his try fail cycles if his conflict is internal? Should this story even have an antagonist? Should that antagonist be the opposing force in each of the protagonist's try fail cycles? Or can I throw three entirely different opposing forces to the protagonist from three different people as long as I ensure the protagonist comes face to face with his inner conflict?

I welcome any thoughts or discussion.

kentagions
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:45 pm
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Re: A plot B plot with different conflicts. and opposing forces for internal conflict (man against self)

Postby kentagions » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:28 am

Hi Henckel,
I feel that two different types of conflict would lend themselves well to a two plot structure. Since the two protags meet at the end, I might have suggested it if you had not. Man vs. self (Missing WV, are we?), while relegated to sub-plot status in most genre fiction, is virtually always present in the hero's arc because reluctance (Due to feelings of inadequacy, indifference and impotence) is a character requirement before the inciting incident. It helps round a character throughout a story (Wolverine always fighting his animalistic nature. Indeed, it is difficult to find a Marvel hero who isn't characterized by sometimes crippling self-doubt.). Only in the climax does the protag shed self-doubt for decisiveness.

Second question: A character whose only conflict is internal must have that struggle punctuated quite profoundly in the three act structure. The goal is to end the strife with oneself, so creation of the inciting incident, failed attempt and climax can stem from any stimulus, internal or external.

I imagine, since you've thought of putting the stories together, that motivational stimuli are similar or even the same (i.e. a disaster can stimulate one character to embark on a quest, while it stimulates another to reclusive withdrawal.). I also assume that chronology is the same, since they meet at the end. What if... For argument's sake. What if we aren't discussing two different characters, but two aspects of the same character? The most profound, thought provoking character in the Marvel universe isn't defined by his enemies or his power, but by the one incident in his life when he didn't act and it cost the life of his Uncle Ben. So think about combining your two characters into one hot mess of a human.

Good luck
Kent

Henckel
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:30 pm
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: A plot B plot with different conflicts. and opposing forces for internal conflict (man against self)

Postby Henckel » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:31 pm

Thanks Kent. I also considered that toggling 2 different plots for 2 different characters would be a good…. What I didn't know is if my assessment was self satisfying. So thanks for your input.

I particularly find it helpful that you pointed out that most stories have man against self as a sub plot (in the form of the character arc). This has the wheels turning in my head.

As for lost in West Virginia? Not at all. That's merely their starting point. : )

...a few thoughts on the last point to come…


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