Kristen Lamb has an excellent post this week about the 5 Common Mistakes That Will Kill Your Novel. I want to talk about just one of her points – Every scene must have an antagonist.
When tackling a whole novel, it’s easy to lose track of conflict on a scene by scene basis so Kristen’s words showed up in my blog feed at a perfect moment. I am in the middle of editing my Lara WIP and keep coming back to a group of short scenes that I have marked as “boring” with galling orange post-its. They each provide essential bits of plot and can’t really be cut entirely. The problem with these short scenes is they have no antagonist. I have Lara going along for a page or two showing growth and imparting information to the reader but there is really nothing at stake. Snoozeville. Now I have to go back and figure out what’s going on with Lara in those moments to keep the reader biting their nails.