Caveat

I’m feeling a bit bad here. I’m really liking that people who read this blog get something from it to help in their writing, but please know that this is only my journey. And I am still travelling on it, nowhere near my destination yet. Which means that some of this stuff on here may be wrong. So please take my little lightbulb moments with a grain of salt. And let me know if I’ve made a mistake somewhere!

Re the whole conflict thing, when I said that conflict doesn’t need to be bad, I did mean that. But only because I always thought it had to be some terrible tragedy. So it was kind of interesting to figure out that it didn’t need to be. That I didn’t have to pile on dead fiances/wives/family/kids. However, that doesn’t mean that tragedy can’t be good conflict because obviously it can. It can be very, very strong. Now, the hero I talked about in the last post, whom I gave a dead fiance to, the only reason that was him living in the past was because there wasn’t anything about the heroine that tapped into my hero’s conflict. Perhaps if my heroine had sworn never to play second fiddle to anyone again, that would have been better. Or if she’d decided that her next relationship would mean marriage or nothing.
Even this current WIP, my hero has had tragedy in his life. He lost his parents in an accident and so had to look after his much younger sister, but his conflict isn’t to do with grief about his parents (though obviously it’s in there). It’s to do with responsbility and trying to do what’s best for people, even though they may not agree. So his conflict becomes a culmination of his experience – looking after his sister, taking over his father’s company, etc, etc, rather than a single moment of loss. And it’s conflict because my heroine does NOT want someone looking after her.

But again, that’s not to say that those moments of loss aren’t hugely terrible and don’t make good conflict. It’s just you can’t take them in isolation from the rest of a person’s life. My last sub was an excellent example of doing just that – my heroine lost her father in an accident (yes, I have a terrible tendency to kill off my character’s parents!) and that defined her character completely. It was like she’d had no life since her father died, which is not the case in real life because people move on after a tragedy (just ignore the fact that some people don’t!). They don’t forget, obviously, and it marks them, but it was like my heroine was stuck in some kind of time warp. And it didn’t help that I’d exaggerated her living safe ways. Not good for an aspirational heroine who was supposed to be a lawyer!

So, anyway, that’s my thoughts on this irritating conflict business. Really, talking about…say shoes for example is far less annoying. Or favourite books. And speaking of which, I bought Natalie Anderson’s Hot Boss, Boardroom Mistress on ebook a couple of days ago and if you’re looking for a sizzling reunion story then baby, you’ve found it!

Oh and for those of you worried about having too much sex without emotion in their stories (Jackie raises hand) here’s is a great post by Sam Hunter, a Blaze author, about sexual motivation. Certainly made me think.

18 thoughts on “Caveat”

  1. I think I speak for everyone when I say we enjoy your lightbulb moments. I think your destination’s pretty close, the conductor will be kicking you off the train at any second…

    Love Nat’s books, I’m totally addicted!

  2. RE conflict in ‘my’ current wip…

    I think I’d be better off working on a pop up book!

    (seeking diversion from my current woes I just read twitter.com/MrsStephenFry)

    I’m sure if I keep working on the wip tonight my H will end up sounding like a horny wounded raccoon…

    Temporary lapse in confidence happening here. This morning the big picture looked fine; I was right on course following my synopsis but a day spent setting up another conflict has left me wondering. I’m looking forward to waking up tomorrow and finding everything is as it should be.

    If only conflict were the only bone of contention. My heroes have been together for 100 pages, I think it’s time I started describing the furniture ; – )

  3. Jackie – I love your journey, and I love that you are sharing your jouney with us. We are all on a constant learning curve, and like Lacey said – we enjoy your light bulb moments, keep them coming!

  4. I think you’re very generous in sharing your light bulb moments and they definitely trigger my thought process about conflict.

    So keep going 🙂
    I also have to say you’re very good at articulating your thoughts and reading it really helps.

  5. Hi Jackie, I enjoy your light bulb moments so don’t stop! I also saw the Blaze post yesterday. I think I write good sex scenes, just perhaps a bit too well 🙂 and too much. I linked your blog to mine so I can follow you on your journey. Many of the elements of your journey mirror mine!

  6. Jackie,

    It’s great to read your thoughts. Keep sharing.

    And LOL on killing of your characters parents. My characters tend to have dysfunctional families that are responsible for screwing up my h and H quite a bit!

  7. Lacey – we’ll see about that destination. It’s a bit like seeing it in the distance but no matter how much you keep going towards it, it never gets any closer! 🙂 Oh yeah, this particular one is Hawt!

    Veronica – that happens to me too. One day it’s great, the next it’s all crap! Here’s hoping it rights itself for you.

    Janette – cheers m’dear. Let’s hope your journey is a lot shorter than mine eh?

    Suzanne – thanks! I just hope the lightbulb moments are truly those and not just the flash before the lightbulb blows! 🙂

    Sri – thanks for that, what a nice thing to say. I guess it’s the librarian in me, wanting to share the information. Really glad it’s helpful and not just confusing everyone too!

    Kailey – thanks heaps. The ed told me I write good sex scenes too but that the last sub there was no emotion to them – which was sadly true. Sam’s post was very timely and a good reminder for me. Thanks for linking to me – shall now go off to link to yours too!

    Maisey – yes, well, what can you do? If you can’t have too many sub characters then you have to do something with the h&h’s families and killing them off is just easier all round!

  8. Grrr…posted as my husband again. To avoid confusion is that ever happens and I miss it, we have the same last name and he’s a very sexy dark complected man holding a guitar. But it’s not really him, it’s me. And I’ll try to watch that!

    Haha. So true. I tend to have these looming spectres in the background that never physically appear, or only do so very briefly. Actually, my hero in my WIP has a dead wife and unborn baby and she features strongly because of her relationship not only with him, but with the heroine. She’s there, but never THERE. Always tricky to try and balance that out.

  9. Really interesting post again Jackie. I think given several published authors say they still get into knots over conflict, to never get knotted would be be a miracle.
    Not that I’m telling you to get knotted 🙂 Erm, leaving your blog now, promise! Thanks for sharing with us and opening up debates.

  10. Conflict has always been one of my “areas”…b/c i don’t like conflict. There, I’ve said it. I much prefer peace and quiet, not friction, not arguing, not “opposites attracting.” But when I read a book with obviously very little conflict I realized just how dull stories are without it.

    I attended a great workshop at M&M on conflict. Molly O’Keefe gave it. She mentioned how even the smallest conflict will show your character’s character…how does he/she react to not being able to get the pickle jar open when all she wants in the world at this moment is a pickle?

  11. Hi Alice, thanks for commenting! Yes, that’s so true. That kind of stuff all helps get an overall impression of the character and how they’ll respond to the major conflict. I tend to forget about the small stuff. 🙂
    BTW, you’re not the only one who doesn’t like conflict. I don’t in real life, but love it in my stories. But then, I’m a drama queen.:-)

  12. LOL on killing off your characters’ families. I’m wrestling with this one now as I try to edit my Presents comp entry.

    Please keep sharing your lightbulb moments! It’s fascinating seeing how other writers solve the same issues we all face in our stories.

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