Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Conflict & Change

I'm studying characterization today. How to write believable characters for a novel. I've been struggling with my protagonist. He's just too good. He's too nice and has no deeply rooted conflict or motivation. Isn't it interesting that the things we want to avoid in our own lives are the things we love to read about in novels? They are also the things which bring the most change whether in our own lives or the lives of our beloved characters.

My favorite books and movies are the ones in which the characters change the most. They start off weak, or handicapped in some way and discover their strengths through the conflicts they face.

So why do we avoid conflict like the plague? And why do we accuse God of not hearing our prayers when he allows conflict into our lives? "Is God evil?" Many may ask. But He has revealed Himself to us as a God of love.

Like a parent's love, God loves us enough to allow circumstances to teach us. A recent example happened in our family this week. Our son needed to get up for work. We've been encouraging him to set the alarm early enough to allow himself a little more time in the morning. "Get up the first time it goes off," I always say. Since school has been out, he's had to work a couple times in the morning, but not until 11am. He figured he'd just wake up on his own by that time, so he didn't set an alarm. My husband and I were both at work when he needed to get up. He slept right through and was 1 1/2 hours late for work! He sure learned his lesson that day. Luckily he didn't lose his job, he just got a little embarrassed. Now he's begun to set the alarm and get up when it goes off. Experience is so often the best teacher.

An example from nature. I picked a mixing bowl full of strawberries this afternoon. This year has been the best yield I've ever had from my small, urban, backyard strawberry patch, each day a handful or small bowl. Pondering the possible reasons, I've considered that it could be because we had such a long, cold winter. Spring took her time arriving in Minneapolis this year. A few trees didn't make it and still I see some that are half brown and half green. But the strawberries have spread and each plant is full of baby white berries, soon to be bright with color and flavor. Could it be that these delicate, nutritious berries thrive when challenged by the elements?

I’m not sure, but I know people do. Paul says to consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.

Now back to torture my characters a little more.

4th of July Strawberry Treat:
Place fresh Strawberries and fresh Blueberries on top of a small bowl of real whipped cream.
It's delicious and patriotic!


  1. Hi Terri,
    I love your blog and the way you tie writing conflicts with conflicts in our own lives. Very well done!

  2. Thanks Angela. I don't usually write about writing, but that's been my "conflict" recently. LOL