On Conflict

A little more on last week’s theme.

Right now I am in the throes of birthing a big, bad-ass novel. Oh man, is it lovely to get in the writing groove again. But sometimes the drama of novel writing gets to me. Because creating a novel means creating conflict. Making bad stuff happen to a character, over and over, until you want to scream at yourself, DUDE! STOP TYLER DURDEN-ING THIS GUY!!

Bad stuff happens to people: this is fundamental human experience. When the same bad thing happens to two different people it gets interesting. One will come out of that experience with new resolve. The other will crash and burn. The difference is in how they have framed their own story.

How to craft story out of our own experience is such an important thing to teach to children. It can influence whether they become victims or survivors. The best way to do this is by example. The second best way is through reading, setting sail on an alternate reality that teaches other ways of being.

Skyboats. 2013. Available through Kindergallery.

As readers, we want to see how a character transforms that bad stuff into good stuff. We want to see the alchemist turn lead into gold.

Our capacity as storytellers will dictate whether the hard life stuff will drown us or elevate us, over time.






  1. Ohhhh I love this R… Lately as I’ve withdrawn from the usual busyness, chores, online distractions I’ve let myself curl up in bed while Reu naps (and also on park benches when he plays) to read… I don’t think I’ve had the desire to write and draw this year at all, I suspect because of the place I’ve been in mentally and emotionally, but that’s beginning to change. Letting myself read. Letting myself think about writing from my experiences now (and not waiting for the perfect time) and so I am lured back to savouring stories, and crafting others… xx

    by thewindhover
  2. Read this the other day and have been thinking about it since. I love it, but I also wonder about how much truth is in the stories we tell ourselves, whether we’re the victim or not.

    The balancing of facts—God, the seeing of facts is hard enough most of the time!—in our personal stories is important if they’re going to stand the test of time and the ravages, as it were, of our fates, and see us on to bigger and better things.

    by g