on Fiction University:
Strengthening the internal conflict in a scene can lead to a deeper connection with your reader.
Back in my “still working out this writing thing” days, I didn’t even know what internal conflict was. I had a vague sense that conflict was the plot, and that it involved grand battles and exciting fight scenes (it didn’t, by the way). I thought that in order to write an exciting novel, I needed to pack it full of exciting action.
Since I’m a plot-focused writer, this misconception fit my writing style well and kept me struggling to understand conflict longer than I should have.
Eventually I figured it out and my novels improved. And once I knew what skill I lacked, I focused on developing that skill—in this case, conflict in general, internal conflict in particular. This “skill cycle” was also part of my process, where I’d hit a technical wall in my writing and then shift to learning how to handle it.