I don’t like conflict.

I know that sounds odd coming from someone who loves to argue, and has gotten into her fair share of tussles with customer disservice, but there you have it.

Conflict: Bad

Harmony: Good

I always have one light read on tap: a story where there’s a misunderstanding and then the two main characters realize what happened and all ends well. I need something like this to get through the day to day..(ask me how many beachy reads I’ve gone through this year?!

And writing conflict?

Never…

The main reason that I will never become a published author besides total and complete lack of talent is that I can’t write conflict.

Just

Can’t

Write

Conflict

I want my characters to be happy. I want them never to have a sleepless night unless it’s a night filled with fun or passion or romance…

News flash:

If you want to write a book, or a story or any work of fiction you must include conflict…

Something not so good must happen or no one is going to want to read your book or story or work of fiction…

I’m sure there is some deep seated, psychological reason behind my desire to not have characters face hardships, but for the time being let’s go with I’m a happy go lucky sort of gal…

How do I snap out of it?

How do I let my characters suffer?

How can I let my characters suffer?

I love my characters- they are like my children- just like I don’t want to see my daughter suffer, I can’t have my protagonist suffer….

Yet rationally, I know that my daughter must have hardships, must suffer to a certain degree in order to become a fully formed person…I know this…

Yet…

My heroes and heroines are locked in a state of eternal bliss…

They are skipping towards a conflict free life….

And an extremely boring book…

For the time being, I have begun writing personal essays…memoir type…

When I’m writing about myself I have absolutely no trouble writing about my internal conflicts, my struggles, me relationships…

The questions for today’s ponderings:

  1. If you write: do you have trouble writing conflict?
  2. If you read: how much conflict do you need/want in a story?
  3. Why am I having so much trouble writing conflict?
  4. What do you think of personal essays/memoirs?

Discuss

65 thoughts on “Apex

  1. I love beach novels especially if they aren’t totally predictable, and I do think conflict adds to the story. Now I say I don’t like totally predicting if my main characters don’t end up like I think they should I don’t like that either. I like the happily ever after but for some reason like to have some twists and turns to arrive there!!

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  2. I haven’t tried writing stories so I don’t know yet. Did you see I wrote a short review of American Dirt? I loved it. I have had a lot of brain fog since Thanksgiving, so I had trouble writing. I think I overdid the carbs and it threw my hormones off. :p

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  3. I like a bit of conflict to move the story, but it doesn’t have to be arguments between characters. It can be a conflict with natural events or health or whatever. I am bored with contrived conflicts (those found in bodice-rippers). I don’t like arguments in my beach reads – I want fun! I think your reluctance of conflict in your writing says something about your empathy for your characters. That is actually a good thing, IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I’m going over my best books of the year there is definitely conflict, and well written conflict. There has to be something to take you in…I don’t mind contrived in certain types of books…but for a book to be genuinely good, the conflict must be good

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  4. I don’t generally shy away from conflict or from tormenting the characters in my stories. Will they ultimately have a happy ending? Mostly. But if they haven’t gone through conflict, then that happy ending is just more of the same. If it’s all wine and roses all the time, you lose your appreciation for both the wine and the roses.

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  5. Conflict is the long term is how the couple gets closer and realizes certain things about the other that they cant live without. What don’t you like about conflict? You dont have to have knock out drag out fights. I like reading because most of the time you know after tje conflict they will always get back together. Conflict is about.standing up for yourself and self reflection and changing your bad parts.

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      1. Alas COVID plus a bunch of other things curtailed my writing group. I don’t have the ability to write as much either. I’m looking forward to finding another group eventually

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  6. I don’t like conflict either, or so I was told by a lawyer when I settled for a totally inadequate termination package when my job was eliminated in a corporate shakeup – The company didn’t have the money to pay out, but me fight in court – never! I signed on the dotted line and moved on. Although I don’t mind reading courtroom dramas I don’t want to be in one. Of course he might just have wanted the lawyers fees, but what he said was true. I think my problem comes from being a middle child, as a middle child you can stay under the drama radar indefinitely and no one notices.

    Your question about conflict in fiction is a good one…..and I’m pondering it. I abandoned my murder mystery 40,000 words in as I didn’t like my two main characters enough….I knew what happened at the end and was bored by it….maybe I need to give them more conflict, or make them more conflicted, less one dimensional? Is being conflicted different than having conflict to move the story along? Another question…
    I love reading personal memoirs, how people came to be who they are, leading the life they have…it’s always the story behind the story that interests me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s a difference between being conflicted and conflict. However, if you can pull it off, having a protagonist with internal conflict is a great way to go. And it works both if they grow or if they don’t. I think readers need to see something happen…whether it’s internal or external. The problem with my book is it’s too pat…my conflicts are cute and not enough to sustain it

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t even thought about this. Of course I have an entire book written in my head. But I don’t think there is much conflict. Then again, our entire real lives are full of conflict right now. Wow, a lot to think about on this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can relate to a degree. When it comes to people I care about, I walk away from conflict. When it comes to bureaucracy, sloppy administration – I am a bulldog. I don’t think people expect instant service in hospitals, motor vehicle testing etc but they do expect it to be organized and as efficient as possible. I don’t like to see specialists who are paid large salaries to be doing clerical, their time is being wasted. They may have other projects and services they could do but they are stuck doing paper work that could be done well by someone else for less wages and more efficiently. Oy, you pushed a button. LOL

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  9. Don’t feel bad for one minute..at least you are reading..actual books. My attention span is shriveling up- kinda like my eyebrows. I’m not even fighting this anymore because, like you, I hate conflict..I’m just going with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have read books where there is very little or even no real conflict, so they DO exist and people enjoy them. I can’t say that I loved any of them and most, if I reviewed them, got called out for it being on the unrealistic side and being syrupy sweet. When it comes to how much conflict, this is completely a question of opinion. I personally cannot stand books where the MC is in constant conflict/struggle to the point where it feels like not only can they not get back on their feet before they are knocked back down, but are kicked while they are down. Some people eat up those kinds of books like candy. The issue of conflict was one I debated heavily with my editor because we didn’t not fall in line on this, so it is really a hard line to find because it is so heavily influenced by opinion. Most of the time, I’m not a huge fan of essays and memoirs outside of reading a personal blog kind of thing, though I couldn’t tell you why or really what the difference is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Even in a children’s story, some sort of conflict (even a misunderstanding, something missing, a small problem) is what makes a happy ending…happy! Reading and writing conflict can be uncomfortable, at times. Again, this is what can make a satisfactory ending. I like to read and write personal reflections and memoir. There isn’t always the kind of happy ending we might wish for someone (even ourselves), but often there’s a type of personal resolution, lesson to be learned, or way to move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent post, LA. Hmmm. Let’s see. I don’t have an issue with writing about conflict, and have done so many times, yet, I do not like to read books, and especially watch television shows, with too much conflict. Not sure, why you are having difficulty writing conflict. In your post, you stated, paraphrasing, that conflict is necessary for growth, which is true. I guess, when I write about conflict, I know that the people need it, even desire it in some ways, so they can grow. Maybe for me it’s easier that way. I’ve never thought about personal essays or memoirs. I will reflect upon that. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, irrationality like rationality is a part of all of us. They go together. Oh, I had a new insight about this conversation. Meaning, about writing about conflict. Maybe try writing about being conflicted. Different, and yet still has the power of a good story as being conflicted is also a part of life. Fun. Be well. 🙂

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  13. Ha! I agree with your points: you need conflict, but it’s difficult to write! I like your idea of writing your own. You might also try crafting some mini ones for your characters, like arguing over what to eat on a menu.

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  14. If you write: do you have trouble writing conflict?
    If you read: how much conflict do you need/want in a story?
    Why am I having so much trouble writing conflict?
    What do you think of personal essays/memoirs?

    My answers in reverse order:
    I think personal essays/memoirs are great, mainly because they’re about all I intend to ever try to write.
    You seem to have pinpointed your own thoughts on why you’re having trouble writing about conflict. Since I’m pretty sure your personally essays/memoirs would include various kinds and degrees of conflict, maybe you could start by looking at those and noting the conflicts they include, even if they’re not always obvious. Then, play with those by tweaking them a bit and inserting your fictional characters.
    I prefer nonfiction and always say re the good ones “you just can’t make this stuff up.” Good nonfiction and good fiction IMO always includes some kind or degree of conflict because I think that’s just how beings, human and otherwise, roll. Sometimes it may be more subtle than others but I believe it’s always there.
    Given my opinion about conflict, obviously I have no trouble writing about, if and when I ever write.

    Liked by 1 person

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