Story: What’s up?
Me: I’m writing a love scene.
Story: I see that. Where’s the conflict?
Me: What conflict? It’s a love scene. They’re in love.
Story: You delight in making my life difficult, don’t you?
Me: Of course not…oh, I see what you did there. You advanced our dialog through conflict.
Story: Exactly. All scenes must have conflict of some kind. All stories must have conflict. That conflict can take many shapes and many forms, but it has to be there. It can be outward conflict, an inward psychological struggle, conflict through dialog, even conflict through the way the story itself is written. But it has to be there and it has to operate on some level, even if it’s below the radar.
Me: I understand what you are saying, but this is a love scene. These characters have been through toil and fire to reach each other.
Story: Okay, go ahead and finish your love scene.
Me: There. Done.
Story: Good job. Now delete it from the manuscript.
Me: What? No. I worked hard on this. It’s a love scene. It stays.
Story: I agree it’s a love scene, but does it advance the story in any way through conflict?
Me: The hero has trouble unbuttoning his shirt.
Story: Besides that.
Me: Well, no, not really. There isn’t any conflict here that relates to the plot or character development.
Story: Then the scene isn’t needed. All good stories have conflict. All good stories are made up of scenes that incorporate conflict within. Yes, even love scenes like that one. All scenes. If the scene doesn’t have the element of conflict then it’s nothing but an aside…and an aside is not necessary, or needed in anyway, to advance your story. A scene without conflict is a stone around a story’s neck.
Me: Okay, I’ll get rid of the scene. Hey, what do you know, the story reads faster without it.
Story: Of course it does. That’s what conflict does both for the story and the reader. It advances the plot and gives structure. It serves double duty.
Me: Story, I think I love you.