Going against my nature to write a good story
I enjoy peace and harmony, for myself and for others. I spent 30 years as a public relations consultant helping people find their way out of problems. With every fiber of my body, I avoid trouble, not make it. I didn’t realize what a challenge my own nature would be to writing my novel.
Last summer, writing workshop leader Rebecca Johns extolled the virtue of “causing more trouble” for my characters. I returned to my keyboard committed to ratcheting up the conflict. (Blog post) And I’ve been doing that, but I find I have to fight my natural instinct for peace every step of the way.
Sometimes in life we get worried and worked up about something and it turns out not to be as bad as we had feared. The terrible thing we were convinced was about to happen doesn’t materialise. It’s good when it turns out that way. In real life. In a story, however, that kind of build up and release is not rewarding, it’s disappointing. … On a basic level, you always want to choose the path of most conflict.
Falling into the worst possible situation is the best thing for a story. It’s not easy to write and it may not be fun for the characters involved, but it’s the most entertaining version for the reader.