Conflict 101

With November (National Novel Writing Month) approaching, I am gearing up for another month of sugar and creativity (and possibly sore wrists again from all the typing, too…). (Whoever put it in November, with all the leftover Halloween candy floating around the house, was an absolute GENIUS, in my humble opinion.)

Anyway, I’ve been studying the use of conflict in writing as of late, even to the point of watching the driving force of conflict in film, in novels and short stories I’ve been reading, and in my life.

Enter tranquility and peace…enter conflict…enter somewhat settling of conflict…enter more conflict…enter even more conflict…enter another somewhat resolution with or without tranquility.

What I discovered last year while writing for NaNoWriMo was that channeling conflict into my writing actually made me a less contentious person in life. I could give most of my frustrations, aggravations, and issues away for a month to my characters and let them figure out how to solve them. My emotional health was amazing…and not just because my diet consisted of Skittles, chocolate, rolls, turkey, pies, and varied pumpkin dishes. 🙂 I was living in creativity and loving the experience…and less personal conflict in my life!

So, all you writers (and readers) out there: Is conflict difficult or freeing to write? To read? How much is too much? And, will you WriMo this year?

PS–I’m thinking seriously about posting the novel I wrote last year in chapters on the blog. Thoughts? I could use some feedback.

An Exercise (in writing)

As I read various novels, poems, blog posts, etc., I am entranced with the ability of writers to capture the essence of mundane or everyday tasks with such descriptive language that acts such as moving wet clothing from the washing machine into the dryer become almost poetic.  Do you know what I mean?  I love reading with the need to somewhat decode and decipher what a writer is talking about through his or her descriptions of actions, items, or individuals.  When I find writing like this, it sinks into my soul and brings me joy.

So…today I offer a writing challenge for your writers out there…and as an example, I will post a description of sorts as part of this post.  Your challenge is to write about something seemingly insignificant–and to give it meaning through language.  Here goes my effort:

After a two-hour-old slice of dry toast and a spicy sausage link, the thirst is almost unquenchable.  Fingers find their way to a white plastic handle holding onto a shiny, serrated slice of metal, as if life depended on it.  Another hand selects firmly the brightly colored sphere, holds the little-larger-than-a-tennis-ball shape firmly to avoid rolling as the blade cuts into the sunshiny flesh, peeling back layers of skin.  Slice, slice, and slice again.  Juicy, acidy, sticky liquid pools onto the dark granite countertop.  Pulling flesh apart from pulp, zest embeds itself under once-long fingernails.  Liquid Vitamin C runs down fingers to wrist as a section brushes lips.  Tongue is moving back and forth, back and forth, sweeping bits and fragments and juice from side to side.  Teeth are grinding, grinding, grinding pulp as juice begins to trickle down a sandpapery throat.  More!  More!  More! Throat screams, and another section grazes incisors, wondering why the wetness of dry mouth propels stickiness while fingers absorb it.  Rinsing the throat with orange while washing fingers with water, both body parts are finally satisfied.

Well, it’s not fantastic…but it’s an exercise, after all.  If you feel so inclined to participate, link back so we can connect and learn from one another, or comment your description exercise at the conclusion of this post.

Happy Writing! 🙂