What You Can Learn About Conflict By Watching Robin Hood
Normally, I love just about everything on BBC America but I can't get in to the Robin Hood series because there are too many plot holes. However, after having seen the preview for this past Saturday's episode, I knew I had to watch. Richard Armitage shirtless. Need I say more? It was worth spending an hour of my life watching the weakest dramatic conflict I've ever encountered just to see RA without a shirt. That and the accent, I just love listening to his accent.
Speaking of weak dramatic conflict, the Robin Hood episode helped emphasize the importance of conflict in a story. Robin Hood movies work because the conflict between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham is focused. Each character has a goal that is in direct conflict with the other's goal. The pursuit of their goals drives the story and therefore the conflict.
The problem with drawing the Robin Hood story out over a number of episodes is that it weakens the conflict. Conflict has to be character driven, not contrived simply to move the plot from point A to point B. Watching Saturday's episode, it was obvious that the conflict no longer stems from the characters' goals but is artificially forced in order to continue the series. After an hour, all I wanted was for Robin Hood to shoot the Sheriff or vice versa, anything to put the poor conflict out of its misery.
To see a more focused conflict in action, watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Yes, it's a bit campy, but Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham is a great villain whose goals are in direct conflict with Robin Hood's. Throughout the movie, the Sheriff continually ups the stakes for Robin. This forces Robbin to rise to meet each new challenge and in doing so, to deal with his inner strife of having failed his father and his friend. Robin refuses to fail the people he has vowed to protect and he grows and changes as a hero because of it. Sadly, he lost his British accent in the process.
So, when dealing with conflict, remember to make it character driven and to make sure it is both external and internal for the hero. It also doesn't hurt to think of Alan Rickman and Richard Armitage while you write. It might even inspire you!
If you enjoy conflict then check out my books. They have lost of conflict in them. www.Georgie-Lee.com