Use confidant to reveal hero’s inner turmoil

Sometimes to reveal the protagonist’s inner conflict, he shares his thoughts with another character. This character who the protagonist trusts is referred to as a confidant (or a confidante if a female).

A confidant often is someone who shares a special relationship with the protagonist – a brother, an old friend, a doctor, a parental figure. Some famous confidants include: Sam Gamgee for Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings”; Maria Temple for Jane Eyre; and Dr. McCoy for Captain Kirk in “Star Trek: The Original Series.”

When speaking with a confidant, the protagonist might reveal his:
• State of mind
• Intentions
• Secrets
• Personal problems
• Character flaws
• Feelings
• Personal fears

What is revealed ought to be key to moving the plot forward. Generally, if the inner conflict doesn’t inhibit the protagonist from resolving the story’s central problem, then it serves little purpose.
In addition, the confidant ought to be more than a wall that is spoken to. The confidante should provide support, insight into what he is told, play devil’s advocate, or perform some other function that helps shape the protagonist’s decision and hence helps move the plot forward.