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BookClubEditor
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Plot: Desire and Conflict

Think of one of your favorite fictional protagonists and tell us what you think this character's desire is. Do you think this story would be just as interesting without this character's conflict? And even though desire is what fuels fictional characters, is this true of people in real life?


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wkarma
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

My favorite book, the main character is being put in a dangerous situation by his family and his homeland. At first thought, I only saw that he wanted to survive. The more I think about it, he had a deep desire to know why this was happening to him as well. He wanted answers. He wanted to know the truth.

Why does it seem like characters don't have the interesting desires until sequels? In the second novel, he had a strong desire to protect his home and his family.
In both I suppose there was a desire to save people.

Well if he hadn't wanted to survive then I don't suppose he would have and there wouldn't have been much of a story. Had he not wanted to know the truth, I suppose it still would have been an interesting novel as this desire doesn't really create the big conflicts as far as I can think of.

In the second novel, it was very much driven by his desire to protect his family.
I think desire absolutely drives people in real life. Often though, I think the conflicts, the roadblocks are so significant that unlike a hero, they are simply unable to break through. However, some of our greatest nonfiction heroes are people who've had desires and have overcome the conflict they've faced.

The United States would never have been brought into existence without very strong driving desires for freedom by the founders and the people who lived at the time.

Without a desire to live, to fulfill the need to eat, love and have shelter, we couldn't even survive. So I would say not only does desire fuel us, it is a necessary part of life.
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Bonnie824
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Claire from Outlander

One of my favorite character's from one of my favorite books. Her initial desire is to go home- back to her own time. The conflicts that keep her from this are staying alive, and then falling deeply in love. So then she has two conflicting desires, followed by a pregnancy she's afraid to carry in the dangerous time she was in.




And even though I loved the romatic tension and historical detail, the conflict made the story what it was.
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katrinka
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



BookClubEditor wrote:

Think of one of your favorite fictional protagonists and tell us what you think this character's desire is. Do you think this story would be
just as interesting without this character's conflict? And even though desire is what fuels fictional characters, is this true of people in real life?



Reply to this message to discuss this topic.




I'm still in love with Rhett Butler, after all these years. Scarlett would be nothing without him--justs a petty, selfish "girl" woman. He defines her in his relationmshp to Melanie and to Belle--two opposite poles of the same theme: female sensuality, responsibility, maturity. He's a bounder with a heart of gold. Of course Gone with the Wind would be nothing without Rhett. His desire is to have a homelife after all his gun running and gambling. I'm having trouble with the word "desire." Do you mean it sexually, or can one "desire" good health? a satisfying career? The first kind of desiring, for a fulfilling sexual relationship that produces an enduring bond, is what drives us from babyhood on. Sometimes we try to substitute other things for our desiring, but behind our efforts, or ploys, is the wish for fulfillment, with someone who understands and loves us anyway.
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Bonnie824
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



I'm still in love with Rhett Butler, after all these years. Scarlett would be nothing without him--justs a petty, selfish "girl" woman. He defines her in his relationmshp to Melanie and to Belle--two opposite poles of the same theme: female sensuality, responsibility, maturity. He's a bounder with a heart of gold. Of course Gone with the Wind would be nothing without Rhett. His desire is to have a homelife after all his gun running and gambling. I'm having trouble with the word "desire." Do you mean it sexually, or can one "desire" good health? a satisfying career? The first kind of desiring, for a fulfilling sexual relationship that produces an enduring bond, is what drives us from babyhood on. Sometimes we try to substitute other things for our desiring, but behind our efforts, or ploys, is the wish for fulfillment, with someone who understands and loves us anyway.




You might like "Scarlett" Katrinka, a kind of sequel, but by someone else. Scarlett is changed quite a bit (in a good way IMO) but Rhett stays very true to character.
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katrinka
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

Thanks, Bonnie--I've read the sequel and seen "Scarlett" on television. I thought the redone Rhett was a bit flat.
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bones
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

John Steinbeck's Cathy from East of Eden comes to mind as one of my favorite fictional characters. For most of the book, we are led to believe her desire is for money to buy her freedom to lead the type of life she wants. But I believe her real desire is to know and experience that most foreign and nonsensical thing, love. She cannot even comprehend its existence yet feels she is missing something very important. I think her conflict definitely makes the book a success and manages to stir strong emotion in everyone I know who's read the book. Desire is an interesting thing in real life. It fuels the success of almost all major singers and actors but perhaps does not have that intensity in all, the ones who can be happy wherever they are with whatever life hands them. The interesting part is that interaction with those who have the single-minded hell-bent drive to fulfill their particular desire or vision of success. In real life, frequently, desire gets sugar-coated in the guise of religion or "for the greater good" of someone or something.
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Brandi_R
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Re: Claire from Outlander



Bonnie824 wrote:
One of my favorite character's from one of my favorite books. Her initial desire is to go home- back to her own time. The conflicts that keep her from this are staying alive, and then falling deeply in love. So then she has two conflicting desires, followed by a pregnancy she's afraid to carry in the dangerous time she was in.




And even though I loved the romatic tension and historical detail, the conflict made the story what it was.




This has such a great blend of external conflict (getting back to her own time, the desire to stay alive) and also internal conflict (falling in love and not wanting to leave as a result). You point out that the desires are conflicting and this is key. When one’s desires are in conflict it can cause the character’s actions and reactions to create additional conflict. Acting in a way that works to fulfill one desire can put up more obstacles for the other desire.
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Brandi_R
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



katrinka wrote:


BookClubEditor wrote:

I'm having trouble with the word "desire." Do you mean it sexually, or can one "desire" good health? a satisfying career? The first kind of desiring, for a fulfilling sexual relationship that produces an enduring bond, is what drives us from babyhood on. Sometimes we try to substitute other things for our desiring, but behind our efforts, or ploys, is the wish for fulfillment, with someone who understands and loves us anyway.





While desire can be connected to sexuality, it certainly doesn’t have to be. To desire is to long or hope for something. A character can desire a save environment in which to live. Or a wedge of stellar brie cheese. Or enough money to pay for the month’s bills.
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crAZRick
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



BookClubEditor wrote:

Think of one of your favorite fictional protagonists and tell us what you think this character's desire is. Do you think this story would be
just as interesting without this character's conflict? And even though desire is what fuels fictional characters, is this true of people in real life?



Reply to this message to discuss this topic.





Dan Brown's protagonist, symbologist Robert Langdon in ANGELS AND DEMONS and THE DA VINCI CODE is intelligent and charming without being pompous or crude about it. He seems to hunger for knowledge and for truth; he dives into his studies of symbols, only trying to understand their meanings from all sides, not just the obvious present-day reckoning, but the historical signifigance and altered perceptions that arise as symbols are used and abused by mankind over the years.

His desire seems to be to learn as much Truth and History of symbols as he can, and share those truths with the world, to enlighten, and empower everyone to better themselves.

As for conflicts, he is terribly claustrophobic, and he's just so darn nice, but he always seems to make enemies of some wacky religious nuts and political goons (probably 'jocks' in high school too!!) but I don't think there would be much story if he didn't have troubles with these sorts of conflicts, internal and external; if Robert Langdon could just knock on the door of the Vatican and tell them there was a bomb going to destroy much of the place, why couldn't Anyone?? if just any symbologist could solve the mystery of the Da Vinci code, then that 4th line of text, written in blood during the dying breath of that kind old man, to 'Princess Sofie' Neveau would not have specifically summoned Langdon. Then again, if Langdon could just run, crawl, scratch and dig his way thru all the dark, damp, dreary twists, turns, crypts and secret passageways it would all just be too easy!! so, being claustrophobic with crazy religious freaks chasing you thru the Vatican and all over--and all under-- Europe, was brilliant conflict design by Dan Brown!!

I suppose there is a level of desire that fuels real life people, probably not as obvious and magnificently displayed desires and conflicts as would be displayed in a work of fiction, but there just the same. Everyone should want for 'something' in Life, and should strive to achieve whatever those desires may be; and, undoubtedly, will face conflict on the path to achieving those desires. And, the biggest, baddest and/or best of those real-life stories of desire and conflict would, hopefully, make it onto the page, to be shared with the world, so as to enlighten us all, the way Robert Langdon and Dan Brown, and any good writer I suppose, would want! :smileyhappy:
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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Brandi_R
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



crAZRick wrote:


I suppose there is a level of desire that fuels real life people, probably not as obvious and magnificently displayed desires and conflicts as would be displayed in a work of fiction, but there just the same. Everyone should want for 'something' in Life, and should strive to achieve whatever those desires may be; and, undoubtedly, will face conflict on the path to achieving those desires. And, the biggest, baddest and/or best of those real-life stories of desire and conflict would, hopefully, make it onto the page, to be shared with the world, so as to enlighten us all, the way Robert Langdon and Dan Brown, and any good writer I suppose, would want! :smileyhappy:




You make an important distinction between desire in fiction and desire in real life. Fiction demands a sort of focus, honing in on a specific desire (or set of desires) as a way to focus the conflict and stripping away what is not necessary to moving that particular story forward. In real life, though, we’re often dealing with multiple desires, some rising to the surface while others abate until, perhaps, a later time.
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crAZRick
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

WOW! I made an important distinction!! ME?!? ME!!

..if my father could see this.... :smileyhappy:
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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mae-V
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

A story I'm currently listening to has one of my favorite characters. Her desire was originally to survive being bullied. She is a bookish, geekish type and bullied by other girls. Her younger sister has to help her out. When she got her desire met it wasn't in the way she had envisioned. She did it by becoming fearless rather than by becoming a bully herself.

The story is written for children and her process, while magical in some ways, mirrors how the task might be done. The attacks just roll off of her allowing her to stand her ground.

Would the story be just as interesting without the desire to stand up to bullying? No. The whole point was that Nita acquired a sense of fearlessness without giving up her bookish, geekishness. That empowered her to accomplish something greater. Her fearlessness, or rather her willingness to face fear and act anyway, shapes the rest of her life. She finds her calling in it.

Does desire fuel real life people? Of course it does. It may come in different words and be more or less attractive to others, and yet it does fuel us. We desire comfort and love and companionship. Or solitude and wisdom and accomplishment. My greatest desire is to understand. When I am frustrated I can usually trace it back to a lack of understanding about the situation, or my inablity to get someone else to understand. My life's subtext, unconscious for the most part, has been communication and how it works (or doesn't).
#Play tasty!#
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Jayna_D
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

In on one of my favorite stories, the main character's desire is to live the easy life and be happy. Given that, he still faces so much conflict just to reach that goal, which is such an irony. I think what I like about him is that he keeps striving for his goal because he believes it will all work out while giving up might give him a vague enough semblance of happiness. I think that shows the intensity of his desire. When you truely desire anything, settling just won't work; but it seems a lot of people in real life get so bogged down that they're desires wan. Rather than fight for what they want, people seem to give up and take what's easy. I like that he keeps fighting when giving up would kind of give him the happiness he wants. Maybe that's a privlege of being fictional; you're not weighed down by things that make real people waver on their desires.
Example: how often do fictional characters really worry about bathroom breaks? We real people, it can be a major issue. But fictional characters can go for days sometimes and never need to take time out of their conflicting to find a john or bush...:smileyhappy:
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crAZRick
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

[ Edited ]
I'm going to refer you back to Brandi's latest response to my 'important distinction' between desires in fiction vs real-life desires:



Brandi_R wrote:
CRAZRICK, You make an important distinction between desire in fiction and desire in real life. Fiction demands a sort of focus, honing in on a specific desire (or set of desires) as a way to focus the conflict and stripping away what is not necessary to moving that particular story forward. In real life, though, we’re often dealing with multiple desires, some rising to the surface while others abate until, perhaps, a later time.




in fiction, potty-breaks aren't generally part of the focus...

that's not to say that you couldn't-- and definitely not saying that you shouldn't-- write a powerful piece of fiction that really pits those conflicts vs the desires, cracking characters, breaking them down, crushing their spirit, weighing on them and making them waver. I would think the best of the best fiction does that...

I just don't think it's ever a critical-mass point whether or not the reader is exposed to someone peeing at a reasonable and discretionary interval throughout a work of ficiton...

maybe, now that it's in my head, I will concoct a diabolical scenario in which the Protagonist must be caught relieving themself, or the world will end...

nah! that plot just stinks!

(basically just wanted to capitalize on another opportunity to showcase where Brandi said I/Me/the crAZ one, made an important distinction!! YA! I ROCK! WOO!)

oh, and because this post talked about fiction vs real life bodily functions, which also rock pretty much too!

:smileyhappy:

Message Edited by crAZRick on 02-22-200710:51 PM

I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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Jayna_D
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

I was going to post to apologized for my earlier post being to dis-com-bob-ulated--I was chatting and fighting off attention-craved dogs--but crAZRick's ego was able to boost and the image of "save the world or pee" is going to keep me laughing. Serious, do you ever wonder what superheros in full suits do? maybe there's a flap....oi, it must be late...
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crAZRick
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

if it's late, then the VAMPIRES come out!

speaking of that, don't you have some writing to be submitting, young lady?!?

:smileyhappy:
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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Brandi_R
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict



crAZRick wrote:
WOW! I made an important distinction!! ME?!? ME!!

..if my father could see this.... :smileyhappy:




I think we’ve all come to expect no less from you, crAZRick! Thanks for all your great contributions to this club so far.
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Brandi_R
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict

Ok, this conversation of “save the world or pee” got me thinking about Russell Banks’ novel Affliction. (Although it’s not quite that particular conundrum.) In it, the main character is suffering from a toothache. That’s not his main concern—he’s struggling through many conflicts, including a divorce and the feeling that his child is being kept from him. The toothache, though, worsens throughout the novel and he ignores it, and then can’t manage to secure an appointment with a dentist when it gets bad. So, this conflict, which is one that is usually quite manageable, becomes one that fuels the fire of his anger. The pain he experiences causes him to act and react in ways he may not have without the pain. The issue is resolved with a pair of pliers (what a scene!), but it just goes to show how a usually easily managed issue can become the very thing that leads a character to a breaking point.
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Aspen2crk
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Re: Plot: Desire and Conflict/From Pat in Colorado, March 5, 2007

Pug Henry is a naval officer during WWII (book is Winds of War by Herman Wouk). He wants a ship and to be on the sea. Instead he is assigned to the War College and sent to Germany to meet Hitler. He is secretly working for President Roosevelt as an 'undercover officer'.

His desire is the ship.

Would this be interesting with out this conflict? No. He wants to be on the water to 'control' the ship and not in an audience listening to Hitler's speeches.

Does desire fuel real people? You bet! Some have desires to finish college, get that Masters or PhD and get a better job. Others want bigger and better homes. Others expensive cars. Others want political careers; others medical or legal careers to 'save the world'. And others want to write a novel - that's me right now.

We all WANT something and it changes weekly. It is part of life.
Best Regards, Pat from Colorado

Invoke/Provoke/Evoke....think about it....