Thursday, September 16, 2010

Avoiding discomfort

It's not what you write, it's what you don't or find hard to write. As authors, it's our job to cause conflict, cause the reader to feel emotions. We can make our characters do whatever we want them to. We can also harm them, fix them, cure them, bring them back to live, perform miracles on them,etc. Easy? No, not for me, anyway.

How to get passed my own conflict and discomforts? What aren't I writing? If I put my character in an embarrassing position, it's hard to push through because it might be a situation I'd never find myself in and avoid. Personally, I'm a peaceful person who dislikes confrontation, so putting my characters in a situations I'd avoid is particularly hard for me, yet it's necessary. Every story needs conflict, and sometimes it's at the expense of the character. I think I must block out anything uncomfortable. What I'm saying, yet not writing, is conflict is a personal thing.

An exercise I could try would be to write about every avoidable conflict I can think of without offering my character a hand. No help from this author, no siree.

How about anyone else? How do you overcome avoidance due to your own personality?
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  1. Hmmm, I've never thought of it that way. I have no trouble writing open conflict - loud arguments, violence, etc. - although I'm not a confrontational person. Or maybe that's why I can write violence...because I haven't lived with it. But I do have trouble putting characters I particularly like in situations of embarrassment or humiliation. I've certainly been there once or twice. Interesting. Have to think about this one.

  2. An interesting thought that I never considered. I usually don't have trouble writing the conflicts of my characters, although I have been struggling with a battle scene. My book has two in it and I just haven't figured out how to write them. Well I'm sure it will come to me someday.

  3. I'm the same way sort of. I don't like being involved in conflicts. However, as you mentioned, as writer's we have to write situations that we wouldn't necessarily get ourselves into. Conflict is hard for a lot of writers, but I've heard many authors say to have your character go through the worst thing the reader could imagine. I guess there isn't any way to avoid it, since you have to be emotional while writing the scene so your readers can have those same feelings as they're reading... but I love your idea on writing about every avoidable conflict you can think of. I may try that. =)

    Great post!


  4. I have the same problem! Non-confrontational writer trying to write a whole lot of suspense. I think the trick is to go back and recognize areas where the tension can be increased. I ask myself, "What's the worst that can logistically happen here?" Then writing it well is a whole other story... lol!

    Great to find your blog! There is some wonderful information here. :o)