A Checklist for Conflict
Welcome back to the wide, wide world of Ghost Punchers! In previous entries we’ve talked about the Ghost Punchers setting and characters, which means today we’re talking about… (wait for it) CONFLICT!
As I’ve mentioned previously, there are three essential elements to a good conflict in your storyworld: accessibility, engagement, and scope. Without them, you run the risk of leaving your audience confused, annoyed, or — worst of all — bored.
Let’s see how Ghost Punchers stands up to the checklist:
Is it clear who’s in conflict, how they’re different, and what’s at stake?
I think so. Ghosts are in conflict with those who would punch them. They’re also in conflict with the living in general, from whom they bite off chunks of life-force when no one’s looking. (It’s a one-sided conflict, but a conflict all the same.)
Is the conflict exciting enough to keep the audience interested?
The obvious answer is “Yes – we’re talking about people who punch ghosts!” but let’s go a little deeper here. Is the conflict going to get old? Once the novelty’s worn off and the joke’s been told, will the audience get bored with it? It’s conceivable, I suppose, but it comes down to execution. After all, most police procedural dramas are based around an even simpler conflict (cops vs. a different crook every week) and those things last forever. (“Coming up next is CSI: Mars Base, winner of the 2087 Emmy Award for best dome-based drama!”)
Is the conflict big enough to encompass all the stories?
Yes. Yes it is. I mean, see above regarding police dramas — and then consider that there are only so many types of criminals in the world, whereas the types of ghosts that need punching is limited only by your imagination.
Yay! Ghost Punchers passes the conflict test! Our conflict levels are within acceptable parameters.