I've just posted my second article on writing techniques over at the Writer's Workshop blog. This time, it's all about internal vs. external conflict:
Go check it out.
Broadly speaking, the distinction between literary and commercial fiction is this: literary fiction deals in internalised conflict – fear, jealousy, greed, desire for power or revenge, thwarted love and so on. It’s these internal conflicts, after all, that are the cause of so many of the great tragedies that characterise the human race – wars of religion, of power, of survival. In Greek myth, the entire Trojan War took place because Paris fell in love with Helen of Troy and stole her away from her husband. A ten-year-long conflict is thereby triggered entirely by one person’s desire for another, regardless of the consequences.