Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Of conflict and...not conflict

Nan and Me 
"I need to write a blog," I whined to my friend Nan Reinhardt, "and my mind is blank." 

I couldn't see her, but I know her well enough to know she rolled her eyes. Then she suggested, "Talk about conflict...or lack of it. Is it necessary?"

As a frequent beta reader for me and an in-demand editor, she knows I hate conflict. That I'm not good at it. That I--gasp--don' t think it's necessary for a good story.

Maybe I should back up there. It probably is necessary. Some. For me, whatever conflict I come up with is going to be internal and it's going to be peripheral, not central. The other part of that is that I don't care if it gets resolved or not.

Because few of us go into our happily-ever-afters without any conflicts on the relationship plate. Nor would we want to, because some of those things are integral to the plots of our life stories. My husband is a musician. A large percentage of my unhappiest moments in our marriage have been related to that fact. Yet music is as much a part of him as writing is of me, and the musician is the guy I fell--and stayed--in love with. Along with those unhappy moments have been 46 happy years.

External conflict? It's wonderful from those who do it well, not so wonderful from those who don't (yeah, that would be me.) I'd just as soon have the protagonists in a book I read spend the pages getting to know each other in the way that's going to bring them together and working together toward a common goal. That peripheral conflict that keeps them apart? I'd rather they learned to live with it than got rid of it altogether.

What do you think?


  1. Hey you--yeah, the whole conflict thing is tough for me too. For some reason, I always think there has to be one, even though I actually agree that I'd rather use internal conflict. I'm not good at villains and outside stuff...oh, I didn't roll my eyes--honest!! ;-)


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