Feb 24, 2011

The Mathematics Behind Conflict

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, February 24, 2011
Conflict between characters is one of the pivotal elements that keep a reader turning the pages. I was thinking about this during the week and it came to me that conflict reminded me of the fractal poster my brother had on his wall when we were kids.

If you aren't familiar with them fractals make great artwork - not only the man-made kind, but the sort nature makes as well.

As a side note - hopefully when finished our stories are also a work of art. But it's not the art work I was thinking of.

A story needs an over-reaching conflict. The *something* that keeps the hero and heroine apart. And the *something* that makes the reader wonder how it can possibly work out - and turn the page.

So how does all this relate to maths?

According to wikipedia, fractals are: a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.

In otherwords, fractals are a complicated mathematical formula.

Like fractals, the conflict between our hero and heroine is always complicated. Our story is split into parts (scenes) each of which includes (at least approximately) a small part of the conflict.

And like fractals, the conflict starts out big, but finishes as a tiny piece of nothing - the moment of the happy ever after.

So thanks to my brother's poster, I now see fractals as the mathematical answer to conflict.


Anonymous said...

Hi Anita,
Jack Frost - master of fractals :)

Interesting analogy.

Anita Joy on February 24, 2011 at 2:51 PM said...

Lol, Sandy. Glad you found it interesting (and no, I wasn't procrastinating while I pondered it, lol).

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