Tag Archives: conflict

The old woman next door

manlookingoutwindow

Three summers now, rude words cut through the cool morning air followed by a window shut with force that rattled the glass.

The old woman next door started that damn lawn mower every Saturday morning at 6:45 am sharp. You could set your watch by it.

A chain link fence, four feet from his bedroom window separated the properties. The landlord made it clear that seniors made up most of the quiet street. He assured the landlord, early or late, he never threw parties. In fact, he did his partying after work before he came home in the wee hours of the morning. He slept late, and returned to the club where he and three others played music from nine to one o’clock in the morning. If anything, learning of the quiet neighborhood drove him to sign the rental agreement without reading or asking questions.

He never admitted the early Saturday morning routine had turned into a game. He could have left the window unopened that one day of the week, or used earplugs.

As it turned out, a game so ingrained that he woke up 6:45 sharp every Saturday morning from the first Saturday the lawn mower failed to start. A habit that continued after they took down the for sale sign.

Have you experienced a conflict with people and discovered that you missed them and the conflict after they were gone?

Keep them strong

strong characters

It’s the fight. It’s not winning the game.

Protagonists of contemporary fiction might not win or come out on top, but they remain strong throughout the conflict. If they lose, they go down fighting.  Additional strong characters support and help the protagonist achieve victory. If not joining the fight itself, they offer compassion and empathy.

Life struggles can kick our butt no matter how hard we fight, or how tough we are. The people and objects creating the conflict are strong as well. However, the taste of victory remains until the person, place, or thing behind the struggle wins. If the protagonist fails, we know it wasn’t lack of moral fiber.

Readers identify with the main character. They identify with struggling through problems, tough times, sometimes making it, sometimes not. They rely on the strength of the character. They feel it. They need it. Many people are either undergoing personal trauma and conflict or know someone who is. They know survival requires strength. It’s fighting the fight, not giving up. Character behaviors are transferred to the reader.

Strong characters give hope. Hope that we can make it through the most basic human conditions.