Hate it. I just want people to get along, work together, hold hands, and skip through life all merry while the sun shines above them. I utterly despise yelling, I avoid confrontation, and I hate that icky feeling when I succeed in delivering a scathing remark.
So, reading conflict can make me a bit crazy. As in the butterfly net definition of crazy. I will be the person screaming, "What is wrong with you? Tell the truth, and end up together already!"
Unfortunately, what I want is not realistic. People are people, and we attack each other's throats sometimes. You also can't have a realistic story without conflict.
The good news is that writing imaginary conflict is way easier, satisfying, and lets just say it, way more fun. I actually like writing conflict! It may seem a little strange, but it's really quite logical when you think about it.
1. You always get to use your zinger.
I'd like to point you to Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. Meg's character in this popular rom-com stated that she hated conflict because she would become tongue-tied. In the heat of the moment she would say something lame and unimpressive. Later, when she was rehashing the fight, she would think of the perfect, scathing zinger, but by then it was too late. When you're writing a scene with conflict, you can always go back and add that perfect zinger to the conversation.
Have you ever noticed that when you are fighting with someone, the argument starts to mutate and segway off into other fights. Afterwards, you think, "How did we end up here?" If you start to segway in the writing world, you can just select, delete, and force your characters to stay on topic. Instant redo.
3. It's cheaper then therapy.
If you're like me, and you tend to hold onto stuff, you reach the point where you just blow up about anything and everything. Using your characters to vent some of life's everyday frustrations is much easier on the purse strings then court ordered therapy from demolishing the bathroom because your husband left the toilet set up again. Working out your feelings and aggression can make a big difference.
4. Quicker, more efficient fights in real life.
All the fighting we do on the pages teaches you how to fight in real life, and no, I don't mean that it helps you develop snarkier comebacks. I mean that it teaches you to keep your fights quick and to the point. What if we look at it like this? If the most frustrating thing for me in reading conflict is how the characters drag out the drama, how much more frustrating is it if I do that in my own life? I certainly don't want to become the thing that I mock, because then what would I mock?
"The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out." Proverbs 17:14
This is such a great verse! It teaches us to let go before the fight mutates and segways, before we say something we regret, before we smash the tub butter into the floor out of frustration, before we loose our minds and end up broken hearted. We are human, and we will always have some friction, but that doesn't mean we have to drag it out. We can learn to let stuff go, forgive, move on, make up, and end up together. Amazingly enough, writing conflict teaches you how to do this in real life.
See. I told you I had some logical points. ;) What about you guys? Have you noticed any real life benefit to writing conflict?
Awesome hanging out with you guys today! God bless, and I will see you guys on October 10th!! :)
V. Joy Palmer