Crisis: The fiery minx of the story



Burning house!

Alien attack!

Run! There is a Star Wars Convention!


Your story’s conflict can be boiled down to man vs. man, man vs. nature, or man vs. self. A crisis plays into the conflict but cannot stand alone within the memoir’s structure. Examples of a crisis could be the stock market crashing or an alien attack, states of emergency. Complications are not the conflict, and neither is the crisis. With so many literary terms used in memoirs, it is easy to get confused. Complications are a series of minor conflicts, and a crisis is an emotional or physical emergency that can be related to conflict, but stands apart from it.


To stay in the Mean Girls vein, the conflict is old Cady versus new Cady i.e. man versus self. Cady’s conflict is within. She is trying to maintain a balance between her light and dark side. The crisis is when Regina George unleashes the fury of the student body via the North Shore Burn Book. Emotions are chaotic and the halls are not unlike the jungles of Cady’s youth. Cady is pushed to desperately act in the present before normalcy is destroyed forever. The emergency event has left her no choice but to be brave.


To recap this section, the crisis is sudden and emotionally violent. More than one crisis heightens the emotional state of the protagonist and gets him/her to take drastic measures thus reaching a resolution via accelerated shedding of insecurities. Most of us will not act or change unless no other option is left. Consider these human elements when developing your protagonist.

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