"I think my child just pulled the fire alarm."
So, for those of you who missed my tweet on this, last Friday my hubby and I were out on an exciting date (including a thrilling trip to Home Depot looking for plumbing stuff) and had made our way toward the high point, frozen yogurt. Since this was sans child we were looking forward to full bowls with as much topping as we wanted (no need to set a good example). As you can probably guess from the quote however.... this goal was obscenely interrupted by the shrill sound of the fire alarm going off and the employees telling everyone they had to vacate the building.
Now, I took it as the hand of fate, sparing me from comitting the sin of gluttony. However, my husband saw it as a personal assault on his objective made by that little child. Since the perpetrator could not have been older than three, I sincerely doubt this. Still, it made me realize that conflict is all in the eye of the beholder.
We are taught, as writers, to build conflict into our stories. While this seems obvious, what I just realized was that even the definition of conflict can vary by character. So, while I said, oh well.... and continued on with our date; my hubby has now made it a personal goal to go back to that store at some point this week and get his chocolate fudge frozen yogurt with cookie dough, snickers and hot fudge sauce (can you guess his weakness?).
It is out of conflict such as this that a story is born. Imagine if he returned only to find it wasn't a prank and indeed there had been a fire. (We left quickly, so it is possible). Now let's say the business is closed for the month of November. But, in the meantime, he has promised this trip to our daughter (indeed true... and now that she has read this blog, I can assure you her bowl will be overflowing). Since living up to his promises is of utmost important to him, the conflict is now not just about his dessert, but also his abilities as a parent.
So, after writing this blog I can now see that my character bios need to include a section on what each character values most; and therefore what I can take away from them for the greatest story conflict (insert evil laugh here). My plan is to include some baseline questions like, what do they feel about honesty, family, and money.
Oh.... and of course, frozen yogurt.
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