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Exercise: Character Development through Internal Conflict

A female detective in a police station, looking troubled and thoughtful, reflecting her internal conflict between professional duty and familial loyalty.


Introduction: This exercise focuses on developing a character’s depth by exploring their internal conflict. The challenge is to convey complex emotional states and the internal struggle that influences a character's decisions and growth.

Situation: A middle-aged detective grapples with the moral dilemmas of her job when she discovers evidence that could incriminate her brother in a crime. Torn between her duty and her loyalty to family, she must decide how to act.

Writing Exercise: Write a narrative focusing on the detective’s internal conflict. Explore her thoughts and emotions as she debates the right course of action, reflecting on her past, her relationship with her brother, and her commitment to her profession.

Suggestions and Development:

  • Delve into the detective’s thought process, showing her weighing different aspects of her dilemma.

  • Use flashbacks or memories to provide context about her relationship with her brother and her career.

  • Describe her physical reactions and environment as mirrors to her emotional state.

  • Culminate in a decision point, leaving room for ambiguity in her final choice to maintain tension.


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