Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One Way I Envision Conflict When Writing

As writers, we've heard many different metaphors for adding conflict in our stories - obstacles in the path of our protagonist as she reaches her goal. I've heard it described as sticking your character in a tree and throwing rocks at him, sticking your foot out and tripping him when things are going too smoothly, putting roadblocks, mountains and raging rivers in their paths. 

Or cats. Lots and lots of fighting cats.
One image that keeps coming to my mind whenever I write something comes from a mini-golf course I played at a long time ago. This mini-golf course (or putt-putt as my wife likes to call it) was one of the old school ones - not a beautifully landscaped Pirates Cove, nor an indoor course with fluorescent  pinks and limes glowing under a black light. No, it was one where those propeller-like seeds from maple trees littered the tattered and faded greens no matter how often they were cleared away.
Seriously, they just swept two minutes ago.
There was the weather-worn windmill, which you had to reach inside if your ball entered at just the right (or wrong) angle - and you hoped you weren't bitten by anything rabid or poisonous. These are the mini-golf courses inside a chain-link fence, and the colored balls are no longer as bright as they once were. You get the idea. Anyway, one of the holes in this particular mini-golf course was a straight-on level shot, except...

Except up from the middle of the green grew maple trees. Real, live maple trees, about fifteen/twenty years old, ones you could barely wrap both hands around. And they grew on the path in such a way that you really had to work the ball around them to get to this hole which otherwise would've been a simple shot. 

Pictured: Conflict
This is the metaphor that pops into my mind whenever I write a story and realize I need to throw in some conflict, some obstacles to make the story a bit more interesting; gnarly, water-starved maple trees growing up through faded, stained and torn green carpet, blocking my shot in a game of mini-golf.

Pictured: Not conflict
Is there a way you envision conflict when writing?

No comments:

Post a Comment