Monday, May 17, 2010
Our Internal Conflict Versus Character Conflict
The reason we as writers love and identify with conflict is because it’s an important and integral part of our daily lives. YES. It is. Conflict like change is a constant. In everyone’s life. Don’t we undergo conflict when there are several things that detract us from writing? Isn’t life a constant battle to find time to write as well do several other things? Don’t we have to wage wars with certain temptations and desires so that we can focus our attention on our WIP? Don’t we cringe as the hands on the clock race by and we haven’t chalked decent writing hours in the day? Balancing several duties as well as trying to find time to do something that fulfills us a.k.a writing is a daily conflict. That we have to resolve amicably, so that everyone around is happy.
The same rule applies to and for readers. Life for them too is a daily conflict. Trying to balance several tasks. Trying not to let certain people/events/situations needlessly provoke them into undesired behaviour. Trying to maintain a calmness in the midst of turmoil. Balancing the several duties thrust upon them by family and society against their personal desires is a huge conflict.
With conflicts being such an crucial and integral part of our lives its but natural that the conflicts in our books mirrors the conflicts in our lives. By resolving our character’s conflict we emerge stronger, bolder, and emotionally wiser. Resolving the conflict our protagonist is undergoing at times proves cathartic. Subconsciously we try to imbibe our protagonist’s strengths and at the same time transfer our own strengths to the main character. The characters that we create emulate us in some ways. Perhaps they are our alter egos, a part of our inner desires, our secret wish. By clearing the character’s paths somewhere along our writing journey we are uncluttering our minds from the extra thoughts that constantly reside there, whittling away the unnecessary elements from our lives by getting focused on our writing, and clearing up our emotional debris by concentrating on someone else’s life (read the main character).
Conflicts make characters stronger: both our inner selves and the characters we create. By fighting our main character’s battles we somehow get the strength to resolve the issues we have been dilly dallying over in our lives. And if we have been successful in resolving them beautifully in our books, not just the protagonist but the writer too has emerged victorious.
Do you think that conflicts make us stronger? Have you learnt from your main character’s conflicts? Please share. We would love to know.