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.
Jamie 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: 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.
Julie 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!