The INTERN blogged about finding the conflict in randomly selected places in a story, like so:
-Open novel to a random page
-Read a couple paragraphs, or at most, a couple pages
-Can you tell what the conflict is, or what the character is yearning for? Can you explain, in just a few words, what these paragraphs are doing and why?
It can be as concrete as “she is trying to catch the rattlesnake” or as abstract as “he is struggling to understand his son’s anger”.
Some examples from INTERN’s handy pile ‘o’ library books:
In a random paragraph from “Small Island” by Andrea Levy: “character is having moral qualms over what to do with an expensive brooch she finds on the ground.”
This should be interesting as a test for padding. The entire discussion is here.