Why beginner writers have problems with conflict?
For some peculiar reasons, readers usually choose a world full of mysteries to a perfect world. They would prefer an elusive, dark and tense shadow in a marsh to blue skies and rivers flowing in all colors under a cradle in the air in which two lovers are ardently kissing. Why is the human psyche like that? Because the monster in the marsh challenges; it creates questions and problems: What is it? What does it want? What does it do? How can I help him? How can I banish him? And before we solve our problems, the problems with conflict – we do not dare to reach out for heaven and claim it as our own, therefore the first scene kind of attracts the reader’s attention more.
But how am I to create a conflict, having such a peaceful personality? In my novel, there are two planets: The Bright Side and the Dark Side – both of them sizzling with magic, but being two absolutely contrasting worlds. The Gods of Olympus solve their problems, and because of a little neglect one early morning one of the two planets menaces that it will attack the other one. A huge fight can happen, because the Gods have disregarded the needs of the mortals, for their own romantic affairs. The Gods themselves can be compromised.
War. Terrible word, but this is the situation in my story, which represents the conflict. Since there is a war, maybe I should take an ordinary family and tell about how good and diligent, and prolific and wonderful they are, how they love and support each other and everything that they have is threatened by the Dark Side…to fill the reader’s eyes with tears…it has got to be a terrible, terrible war!
Because I am unprepared for a war, I can be caught reading encyclopedias named: Warrior A Visual History of the Fighting Man. After some time spent with warlords who press their shields against the shields of their enemies and stroke them with long spears, smiting them with might. I learned about civilizations which actually embraced war, and fought for their homes and their honor…Wait they marched on the battlefield in step to music – a war song…
“We fought with the sword. I was still young when in the East we created a river of blood for the wolves and invited the yellow-legged birds on a huge feast with corpses. The Sea was red like a fresh wound, and the ravens swam in blood…”
My personal problems with conflict.
Then I understood war has nothing to do with me. Even if people on the Dark Side, who are in many ways more primitive spiritually, even if they took war seriously, I would rather have a ridiculous perception of war on the Bright Side…weapons like balloons filled with water and shiny shields, which reflect the rays of the sun. It has got to be an incredibly funny war! A war against the concept of war itself.
No, it is essentially a love story, so the main conflict has to be about the lovers. But in such case, there should be tension between them, there should be scenes of jealousy and passionate desire and abhorrence, there should be obstacles in the ways of lovers, and guess what? My book opens with a love scene – the Gods are already making love and everything is divine. Who wants to read more?
Back to the two worlds and their war! I found a questionnaire while I was crafting the world as of what kind of things I should know about the Dark Side and the Bright Side…questions such as: who patronizes arts in the country and where do the performances take place…how are the buildings ornamented, really fine, but at the same time really wry questions…aren’t they? So I want to learn about both two worlds and oppose them by opposing the motivation of the characters. King Cleomantas wants to dip into the panties of Helen, the Queen of the Bright Side, while King Leonidas just wants to be saved from everything.
I feel writing has got something to do with weaving or arranging a puzzle…Readers have to be caught by the hand and deliberately, carefully and slowly introduced to the world and its problems. It’s a process of birth and discovery, of looking after a child, which has got a soul and behavior of its own. The reader wants to feel the joys and pains of your characters, and I for various reasons can’t be merciless with them. The reader wants a catharsis of some sort. So what is a conflict? Two characters fighting for the same glass of water? Now that are some problems with conflict.