“Get out of my way!”
“I was here first!”
“Don’t you snitch on me. I didn’t do anything!”
“That toothpaste smell is gagging me!”
Our mornings usually begin quiet and peaceful. Until my children have to share the bathroom. Bailey is primping and flat ironing her hair and Myles just needs to “water his hair” and brush his teeth.
Two minutes together. Tops.
I’m usually in the kitchen, feeling good after my morning with the Lord. I’m at peace. Quiet inside. Full of love…
“If I hear you screaming one more time, I’m going to come in there and give you a reason a to scream!”
Ever wonder how that happens? I can just see my flesh inside–crawling, gearing up to be let loose. Itching. Come on, I just need one tiny prick…where are those kids when I need them!?
They’re in separate rooms. That’s where.
Close quarters bring conflict. Bank on it. You fight most with the people you live with, or maybe work very closely with. It’s why you can go to church on Sunday and practically lick the syrup off folks’ faces. It’s easy to be sweet to people you see once a week.
Conflict is key in writing stories. It’s what keeps readers turning pages. Do you read? Would you agree? If there is no conflict there is no story.
In real life, I don’t want any drama. But in a book, where I’m not the target or stuck listening to whining and droning…I want drama! Lots of it!
There are many ways to inject conflict into a story. The most obvious would be external conflict.
Miss thang here, well, she’s got herself in some kind of physical predictament that seems hopeless. Someone or something has literally put her up against a wall.
I see this picture and I think, “How did she get in this situation?” ie…backstory (that doesn’t need vomited onto the page) “How is she going to get out? After all, her best friend can’t save her…she’s strapped right up there with her.
Add some dialogue:
“I can’t believe you got me into this, Baby.”
“Me? Me? Duckie, you’re the one who said we should follow the bread crumbs.”
Duckie quacked and tried to point her wing, but the duct tape pulled at her feathers she’d just had trimmed and tipped, “I always say that! It’s like you always asking for a cookie! I tune it out! Now figure out a way to get us down!”
This bring us to Internal conflict. What’s going on inside of her? This is where writers get to be therapists. “How does that make you feel?” Then we get to be patients. “Well…stuck?” Internal conflict is as important to a story as the external conflict.
I happen to love odd conflict. Inner and external. For example, this cartoon. This man is afraid of butterflies. I’m certainly not making fun of the fear of butterflies or phobias that people have. I have a few of my own.
I’m terrified of driving in heavy traffic. I don’t drive for a living, but take that fear and put it inside a truck driver. Now that’s good stuff! You may be asking, “Why would a guy become a truck driver if he’s scared to drive?”
Maybe it’s not a he. Maybe it’s a she and she is a single mom about to lose her children. What choice does she have? This may be the only thing she can do to make the money she needs to keep them. External conflict and internal.
And of course, I have to have a little humor and duh, romance! She’s going to need an instructor, so she can obtain her CDL (a special license). This man has to ride along with her. He might even be a little chauvinist–but it’s probably a facade (his wife had an affair while he was on the road; he’s bitter).
Can you see her trying to use both foot pedals and shift that big ole’ rig with a burly (hot) guy glaring at her–ticked off because he’s stuck with some female who wants to drive a truck. She’ll kill them before she ever gets out of the parking lot!
We just amped up the conflict, ladies and gents!
FYI, I just thought this up while writing; none of my stories are about a single mom becoming a truck driver. However…
In suspenseful stories (which all stories should have some suspense), a sneaky fox can add conflict. I like to call this Devious Mind conflict.
Someone who seems innocent, but secretly thwarts the plans of the hero/heroine in the story–or both. Maybe the reader knows this up front. If it’s a mystery, probably not until much later in the story. I write about serial killers in my Hornet’s Nest Series. I keep my killers a mystery–until the last “act.” and even then it’s about the end of the story.
I love characters that are crazy like a fox…or is that hungry like the wolf??? Oh well…either-both. Whatever, it works.
One of my all time favorites, is the love conflict. Man loves woman, woman loves man. But they can’t be together. It’s the glue of a great romance novel. Who wants to read a book where a couple fall in love in chapter one, get married in chapter two and live a ho-hum decent life the rest of the book? If you do, sorry. But I do not!
Rejection in a relationship fuels me to keep reading. Nothing tugs my heartstrings like a woman or a man rejecting the other when I know they really love each other. But it takes, what to keep them apart? Conflict. Internal. External.
Mix it up with odd conflict, sneaky conflict or, just stick them in a bathroom together for about two minutes. I know first hand that works.
Either way, you can’t erase conflict from a novel. You don’t have one if you do. And you can’t erase it from your real life.
Thankfully, there is conflict resolution. His name is…God. That’s why I love writing Inspirational Fiction. I can show the world how God can be the conflict resolution in any situation. I get the pleasure of extending hope to readers who might identify with some of my characters–even single mom truckdrivers.
Does every situation end beautifully in real life? No. In fiction? Most times.
But, real life and fiction do have something in common when it comes to conflict resolution. The availability for God to resolve inner conflict is always there. The same hope you read about in fiction, is very real in the story we call real life.
You can’t change some of your circumstances. You don’t always ask for conflict, but God is always ready to bring peace to your inner conflict first. He cares more about the condition of your spiritual life, than your physical.
So…talk to me. Tell me what kinds of conflict you enjoy reading about? What keeps you turning pages?
Have a great weekend. Join me on for Must Read Monday! I’m sharing about a book you can get for free! If you don’t have a kindle, I’M GIVING AWAY A BOOK! TELL YOUR FRIENDS!