Conflict is a bad thing. During the course of our daily lives, the word “conflict” conjures up all kinds of bad connotations – disagreements, threats, fights, and even war. Conflicts occur in the workplace, at home, in our cities, and in the world at large. We are bombarded by images of conflict every time we turn on the evening news or read a paper. Lately, it seems that war, riots, and severe weather are in the news constantly.
Closer to home, we have bosses and co-workers, family members, neighbors, and even friends who can drive us crazy when their needs are in opposition to our own. These conflicts can stress us out, give us headaches, and can cause us physical and emotional pain. Some people resort to violence when they find themselves in conflict with someone else. Most of us, though, strive to resolve and manage the conflicts in our lives in a way in which no one gets hurt. (Though I’m sure some of us fantasize about going all “9 to 5” on our bosses!)
Personally, I hate conflict in my life! I was forced to deal with other people’s conflict on a daily basis when I was a cop. Now that I’m an ex-cop, I find I have little desire to deal with any kind of conflict.
But when I don my writer’s cap, strangely enough, I find that conflict is the best thing I could possibly have. A character without conflict is a cardboard cutout without life. A story without conflict has the excitement of a grocery list. Conflict is the engine that powers both our characters and our plots.
Have you ever had writers block? Do your characters ever feel flat to you? Do you find your plot wandering? If so, focusing on the conflicts in your story can be a sure-fire remedy. Most problems with characterization and plot can be solved with proper use of conflict.
But what does this involve? What are the different types of conflict you should be building? Once built, how do you sustain it for your entire story? How and when you do resolve it?
Please join me for my workshop “Conflict – How to Build It, Sustain It & Resolve It” from September 6– 13 and find out how a bad thing can become a very good thing!
For a full list of my 2011 workshops, please visit my website at www.jroycraft.com
Jaye Roycraft is a former big-city police officer who started writing midway through her law enforcement career. She incorporated her police procedural knowledge and experience into her futuristics and paranormals, beginning with her debut novel Rainscape, first released in 2001 and re-released in 2004 and 2009. Rainscape was followed by Jaye’s vampire Image series - Double Image, Afterimage, Shadow Image, and Immoral Image. Jaye has presented workshops both online and at conferences, been a contest judge, and was a featured panelist at Dragon*Con in 2003. Jaye has been a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and WisRWA (Wisconsin Romance Writers of America). Her latest urban fantasy, Hell’s Warrior, was released in 2010. You can check out Jaye’s books and schedule of workshops on her website at www.jroycraft.com.