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Internal Obstacles

For the month of December, I am reissuing a few of my favorite posts. This post was originally published on April 1, 2012.

Internal obstacles are supplied by the protagonist’s own mind. They are difficult to overcome because most characters lack objectivity and insight into their subconscious motivations. Rarely are characters self-aware enough to know their strengths, weaknesses, and triggers. Friends and foes hold up mirrors so the character can see himself better. Friends and foes reinforce these obstacles or help overcome them. All characters have emotional triggers and cause explosions by pulling other people’s emotional triggers.

Internal obstacles prevent a character from achieving his overall story or scene goal due to:

[ Internal resistance based on temperament to things that go against his natural inclinations.

[ Fears and phobias that keep him from going where he needs to go or taking the action he needs to take.

[ Desire for a personal currency that tempts him to do the wrong thing or sidelines his efforts.

[ Low self esteem, arrogance, or pride that keeps him from doing what needs to be done or makes him do things that are better left untried.

 [ Psychological factors, such as conditioning, belief systems, mental illness, anxiety, depression, and addiction keep a character from seeing the situation clearly or keep him from making healthy decisions about what needs to be done or said.

In Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, we explore six types of obstacles, and different types of responses, that help you craft believable conflict. We meet and warp sixteen characters and take them from cradle to grave. We will continue to explore the concepts from the Story Building Blocks Books in this blog. To learn more Story Building Blocks II is available in print and e-book format through Amazon.

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