Wonder Wednesday: Conflict


Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

It’s funny how in real life I can’t stand conflict. That’s not to say I don’t stand up for myself. It was something I had to learn, though. In the beginning, I would overdo it. I’d be too aggressive because I was overcompensating for all the times I didn’t.

In writing, I love conflict! Whenever a scene feels a little flat I throw a wrench in the works and have my character limp or crawl along. They have to fight against tough odds. The only time I let things calm down is before something worse happens. The calm before the storm. The trick there is keeping enough tension, so the reader doesn’t think the story has ended. I’m still learning to do that.

Conflicting priorities are part of life and it’s no different for writers. To be a good writer I often hear it’s important to have a full life, but then you have to manage your time well. As a writer with a full-time day job, a martial artist, and a hobbyist musician (among other things), I know the struggle well. Add to that the need to read, learn, have a social life, and maybe watch some TV or movies sometimes… (Like Star Wars on May the 4th, perhaps?). Life would be empty without conflict, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Conflict lets me appreciate achievements and downtime more.

At some point, conflict needs to resolve. I managed to get that parking ticket canceled. Happily, I didn’t have to use the phone or drive back to that mall.

I managed to get that parking ticket canceled. Happily, I didn’t have to use the phone or drive back to that mall. I’ve come to hate speaking on the phone. That’s not unusual today, but I think it’s more pronounced because of my introverted nature. We once celebrated spontaneous phone calls or unplanned company. These days it’s a weird thing to do. I’m not sure if it’s a good change. Maybe it has contributed to people having less social skills. I think we’re socializing as though we’re TV characters and that’s bringing about miscommunication and creating unnecessary conflicts.

In writing, conflict doesn’t have to be an axe-wielding wedding interloper. It can be more subtle like the character’s only pants getting soaked. Then we are taken through the steps the character tries to get their pants dry. Once they achieve that, a new conflict that is bigger will be thrust upon them until the theme of the story comes full circle and the character is altered in some fundamental way that changes their existence from that point onward giving them a new “normal”. See how fun conflict is?

Well, if I continue, I’m afraid it will turn into meaningless rambling, so I’ll sign off here.

Ciao,
R

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