Subconflict, and Lots of It

A Writer's Path


by Kyle Massa

Novels are cool, but they’re tough to write.

I’ve been working on a manuscript about a rock and roll star who inexplicably rises from the dead. Think Mick Jagger meets Jesus Christ. I think the premise is interesting and I like the characters, but once I really got into it, I found that the story was slowing down. It just wasn’t interesting to me anymore.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my story until some time later, while I was reading Lisey’s Story by Stephen King (all hail his majesty). I got about a hundred pages in and realized the key difference between King’s book and mine: he had tons of subconflict, and I didn’t.

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