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Monday, April 26, 2010

Conflict

I went to SVRWA's meeting with my critique partner, Kadee Sinclair, this weekend and won a .pdf copy of the soon to be released "Love Writing: A Guide to Writing & Getting Published (Without Losing Your Passion or Sanity)" by Virna DePaul and Tawny Weber!! Very cool...and these lovely ladies were also the presenters of the "Conflict" topic at the meeting. Now, they also gave this same presentation at my local YRW chapter a couple of months ago, but I was unable to attend. However, conflict is something that is absolutely vital to any type of book. Without it..., well without it, there is no muchiness, to borrow a phrase from my blog a couple weeks past and the wonderful Alice in Underland. So important is muchiness to a novel, that I woke my very sleep-loving self up at 4 am to drive to Milpitas on a Saturday morning. Yeah....4 am in the MORNING...dark time. Really.

After some Starbucks run, and more coffee once we arrived at the lovely breakfast buffet put on by the SVRWA, I was wide awake and ready to be instilled with all the wisdom the two of them could impart. And boy did they impart! They gave a lot of GREAT information. It was a very "muchy" presentation, but clear and to the point. I very enjoyed it and had already decided to purchase their book coming out in June 2010. (You can find out more about it on their website www.lovewritingbook.com.) But now I don't have to...but I still might, just to have a hard copy. :)

Anyway, back to conflict...Kadee and I were able to apply some of what we learned to her current WIP on the drive back...well she actually I applied it. I acted as a sounding board and gauge...as a proper critique partner should. :) One of the things we learned was to layer your conflict. Hmmm....kind of like life. So simple, but not so easy to see sometimes when you are writing.

In life...there are tons of layers and complexity. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say, "I need more conflict." (I've heard writers say this often. And, of course, they mean in their WIP...right?) But conflict drives us in life just as it drives a storyline. Without conflict, we would definitely react to situations differently. If we had all the time in the world to weigh options and figure out what we should do, no hasty or rash decisions would be made, resulting in consequences we should have foreseen.

But we are human, with instinct and emotion, and hopefully passion and purpose. Thus, conflict is a given. Maybe not to the degree we sometimes find ourselves, but some inner conflict will always exist. We do not have control of others or life around us, so external conflict will also come into play, making us deal with conflict on a daily basis. Whether big or small, these moments define us in some way.

So, as a writer, I will channel some of the conflict in my life into my writing. Yes, I can do that. Isn't that cool? That's one of the reasons I love to write. One of these days, maybe I will write about all of the conflict in my life, but for now I want to escape that conflict. To do that, I give my characters problems. And you know what? I can fix those problems!! Yay me!!

Okay, now I really need to get back to those characters and all of their conflict and apply Tawny and Virna's advice to my own WIP. Thanks again Ladies!

But my question to you is this. How will you handle your conflict? If possible slow down and try to envision the consequences. If you can't -- when the consequences come, accept them and move on. Because you know what? There's no going back. And to complain and use them as an excuse to act badly, well that's no good to anyone and not very muchy at all, now is it?

Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities, but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. -- Quentin Crisp

3 comments:

Micole Black said...

I loved your blog Donna!!! Congratulations on winning that book it sounds wonderful and I can't wait to get my own copy. Wish I could've gone with you guys! Looks like you learned a lot!

Take care!

Hugs

Micole

Virna De Paul said...

Thanks for the shout out Donna!! I'm glad I discovered your blog. It was great meeting you and hope to see you soon!

Donna O'Brien said...

Micole -- Wish you could've gone too...we missed you!

Virna...wow...thanks for checking out the blog and for commenting. Hope to see you again soon too. Congrats on your contracts too!!

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