Perhaps no mightier conflict of mind occurs ever again in a lifetime than that first decision to unseat one’s own tooth. -Gene Fowler
I’m sure any conflict resolution expert will tell you that one of the most important steps in resolving a conflict, no matter the type, is by listening. Listening happens to be one of the best ways to effectively communicate with others, allowing you to get to the root of a problem before deciding how to solve it or more importantly deciding whether you want to even try. You see, without listening, you will never actually understand what the issue is all about and the conflict will continue to rare it’s ugly little head, causing you to go in circles, becoming more angry at the situation, more specifically at the offending party. Ask me how I know.
I know this because I was having an internal conflict with a character in my head. Yes, I was angry at her. She wanted to do things that Aja would never do. Well…let me amend that by saying, she wanted to do things that I would probably never do. Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, Abby was up to some stuff that would roll heads if people knew about it. She’s a rather unsavory character and quite pushy with me. She insisted on me telling her story but because I didn’t like her or what she stood for, I’d been ignoring her. Basically, I wouldn’t listen. I know that’s not a nice thing to do but what choice did I have when I really didn’t agree with her actions…in my head?
I was discussing Abby with someone recently and it was in that discussion that I realized I really just had to let her speak her peace even if I don’t agree with what she wants to do and even though I can’t see myself even writing her story. But during my lunch break, I mulled it over and decided to pull out a my pad and pen, jotting down all that she’d told me so far.
Ya’ll…it was gritty, raw, revealing, amusing and some of it was downright hot, making me hold my breath to keep from panting in my office. Yeah, it was like that. I may not agree with her methods but when I took the time to look at my notes, she really does have an interesting story to tell, the stuff that makes great stories to read. And now that I’ve actually listened to her, my conflict has been resolved. Abby will get her story…one day. And you know what? I even understand Abby a little better.
Have you ever had a character push you to write a story even when you don’t want to tell it? How did you resolve that conflict?