How to Create Friction Between Character and Scene

A quick insight into how to create friction/tension between characters using what is happening in scene from the Read to Write Stories blog (authors, I recommend following this blog).

Read to Write Stories

What Burns Away, the debut novel by Melissa Falcon Field, has been called "thrilling" and "perceptive" by Tin House executive editor Michelle Wildgren.What Burns Away, the debut novel by Melissa Falcon Field, has been called “thrilling” and “perceptive” by Tin House executive editor Michelle Wildgren.

In life, people tend to work together. At weddings, when the crazy uncle is drinking too much and telling offensive jokes, the rest of the family negotiates this behavior gently, distracting the uncle and muting him. Everyone is on the same page. If life didn’t work this way, we’d spend all of our time screaming at each other. In fiction, however, characters shouldn’t work together, at least not all of them. When a scene gathers momentum and begins to take on rules for how to act, a character needs to refuse or fail to play along. That friction between character and scene can be a great source of tension.

Melissa Falcon Field’s novel What Burns Away has this tension in spades. You can read the opening of the novel…

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