Sunday, August 31, 2008


There's a huge difference between conflict and excitement. In fiction, there's supposed to be plenty of both. In real life it's nice to have plenty of the latter and little of the former. The odd thing is how often we mistake one for the other.

I'm inputting and editing as I go. By this time next week I should be done and floundering around for a post. I tripped across a scene that was heavy on conflict and not all that exciting. Too much drama and not enough substance so I broke it up, twisted perspectives and allowed the conflict to generate excitement through the internal turmoil as the characters played out the action.

Nea is conflicted just by breathing. That's not always interesting, let alone exciting. She's drawn to situations that feed her combativeness.

Alex has a strong sense of adventure. Everything to him is exciting. He rises to the challenges that are part and parcel of those adventures. Until recently, he wasn't particularly conflicted.

Reconciling the two of them is fascinating to me. All too often in life, we're attracted to people and situations that keep our blood pumping. We seek adventure and conflict thinking that we have to overcome in order to be either exciting or excited. That's where all those Bad Boy Heroes come in. The more dangerous he is the more exciting.

Oddly, I've never been drawn to write dangerous bad boys. My guys usually end up in conflict between doing their job and the heroine's goals. Sometimes his values are challenged by hers but I don't think there's been a badge-wearing, gun-carrying, motorcycle-riding, black leather jacket in the lot of them. They've all been strong men drawn to strong willed women.

It's a good thing I've been around to teach them all the difference between conflict and excitement so that they all get their requisite Happy Ending.

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