I’ve just read the brilliant ‘Uninvited’ by Liz Jensen (thanks to Helen for the recommendation). The book is described as: ‘A masterclass in creepiness – as unsettling as Margaret Atwood or Kazuo Ishiguro’.
The protagonist, Hesketh, has Aspergers and during the novel is thrown into situations of constant chaos and change, aspects of life he finds difficult to manage. Hesketh is at ease with Venn diagrams and fact, rather than the strange, murderous events which unfold throughout the novel with, seemingly, no logical basis.
The ‘Uninvited’ is a masterclass in how to put your character into conflict, and something I think we can all learn from.
ConflictA good story always has conflict at its core, either external (a difficult relationship or a physical obstacle) or internal (fear) and that conflict must have a satisfactory conclusion.
Ways to create conflict include:
- Pitting your character against themselves
- Pitting your character against another person
- Giving your character legal conflict
- Physically trapping your character
- Using nature
- Using technology and science as conflict
- The supernatural/unknown
The most successful novels combine internal conflict and external conflict, as well as showing the cost of that conflict. In the Uninvited, the personal conflict is Hesketh’s battle with his Aspergers. The external conflict is him trying to find the reason why the human race is imploding, before it becomes apocalyptic.