Friday Fun – Snow and Story Conflict

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Conflict. Without it, there is no story. There are four primary types of conflict that pit your protagonist against an enemy, him/herself, society, or nature. (Check out this fun visual definition of the four types of story conflict on Storyboard That.)

The recent “Snowmaggedon” that has been ravaging New England (where all the Live to Write – Write to Live bloggers happen to reside) has created plenty of conflict. So, here’s your challenge: Either tell us about some conflict the relentless snow has brought into your real life world, OR let your imagination go wild and give us the set-up for a fictional story about how massive amounts of snowfall might create story-worthy conflict. 


headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: My personal snow-induced conflict is one that arises between me, myself, and I. Each time the alerts come through on text, voice, and email that school has (yet again) been cancelled, I am torn between wanting to spend the day curled up on the couch with a good book, wanting to spend it doing snowy day things with my daughter, and feeling obligated to continue working as if it were a normal day. (After all, as long I have power and Internet access, my freelance writer’s world keeps spinning.) Usually, I end up trying to do all these things at once and fail miserably across the board. My attention and time is so splintered that I can’t enjoy (or be effective in) any of the roles, never mind all of them.

If I were to write a story about snow-induced conflict, however, I think it would be most fun to write about a person vs. person conflict. Snow accumulation is now so high that there is, quite literally, nowhere left to put the snow when it falls. And the meteorologists tell us there is more on the way. Tensions are rising and the extreme situation is bringing out both the best and worst in people. I could have a lot of fun writing about the escalating battles of neighbors with dueling snowblowers.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: Well, I rode out the last storm at my sister’s house, and another sister moved my car while shoveling out the driveway and eventually took my car keys home with her. When she texted me with the news the next morning, I replied that I’d take my sister’s car and get my keys. She texted back that she’d parked my car in front of the garage where my sister’s car is, so I couldn’t get it out. On to Plan C! Since I was giving a talk in NH that evening (I was in MA) I had a deadline to meet–and I did. I can imagine a story where the same type of “series of misfortunes” happen, but don’t work out as well as my actual day did. That’s the hero’s saga, right? One damn thing after another. With all this snow, it could actually be a character in a story and would allow all kinds of normally implausible things to happen.

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: It is hard to describe what it is like trying to navigate the snow. I walk most places, and take the T. Not the best few weeks to use those modes of transport, but driving has been as bad.  So that has provided conflict. But as I was holding on to a fence, trying not to topple into the snow,  I noticed a tunnel into one of the lumps on the side of the street, showing a patch of a dark blue car door. I looked down the street, and noticed several lumps had similar tunnels. Someone had lost their car. With another foot or two due this weekend, I hope they found it!




12 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Snow and Story Conflict

  1. Ah snow!! The novel I’ve been working on (on and off and in between other writing projects) for the past three years is set in the Canadian Arctic (where I lived for a time some years ago). So, there’s a LOT of snow in my story. The main conflict is one between cultures (Inuit and Euro-Canadian), but moving that theme forward are conflicts pitting people against the environment, people against people, and even a couple of people against a polar bear! The opening line is a description of sun reflected off snow.

    • Sounds like a fascinating story … and your opening line is full of a sort of poetic conflict – the cold of snow with the warmth of the sun. 😉

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. I would read all of the snow induced conflicts outlined above! I started creating a story in my head when every time I went out to shovel it coincided with my neighbor’s shoveling schedule . Hmmmm, romance? jealousy? competition? 🙂

    • Ooh – careful, Andrew! 😉
      Even we hardy New Englanders have been feeling beaten up lately with the way Mother Nature has been dishing up the white stuff. It’s making the prospect of spring even more attractive than usual.

  3. I’m feeling quite guilty about our continued Colorado luck – snow in the high country for ski bunnies and 65 degree sunny days here on the Front Range where Hub and I are playing golf IN FEBRUARY!! I did pay my dues in my native Michigan for years though!

    What keeps crossing my mind is all those babies who will be born in 9 months because couples huddle under blankets for weeks with nowhere to go and nothing to do if power is out 😋 Perhaps a story about Babygeddon …

  4. I can’t really relate either. Today was absolutely gorgeous. However, if I’m thinking about a conflict centered around snow, how about being snowbound with your thirteen year old daughter, her sixteen year old boyfriend, two Great Danes, your ex-husband’s ninety year old Grandfather, and your Mother, who just got dumped by your Father. Oh, and you, the protagonist, are in the throws of menopause.

    • Wow! You certainly know how to stir the pot and whip up a concoction of conflict and tension and LOADS of story possibility! Love it! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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