Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Time to enjoy confrontations

 My two protagonists are about to have a big fight in my YA novel, and I am having enormous trouble writing the scene. All I want is to be as far away from the situation as possible. A lifelong inclination and practice in avoiding confrontation will do that to a person.


Maybe I should just think about the plot and where it needs to go and then steer the fight toward that end in a detached way. Maybe I can even pretend to be someone who welcomes such a challenge (I know such people exist; they just may as well be aliens to me.)

Or maybe, working through the emotions and the thought processes involved in a confrontation can reveal insights and new understanding in ways I won't even anticipate.



10 comments:

tanita davis said...

When I write conflict and sharp-edged banter, I find that I have to inhabit the scene. That really may be difficult for you. I am not a person who confronts a lot, believe it or not, but I will do it if I have to - and hey, I may not be comfortable, but some things need to be done.

I try to write characters who AREN'T like me, though. Which means sometimes getting it wrong, deleting, and starting over...

Good luck.

scott g.f.bailey said...

Maybe your discomfort is the key to writing the scene and you can use it. Maybe your characters don't want to have the confrontation either and want to be far far away from the fight. Maybe write about that instead of thinking of it as a confrontation? Write about the way they want to avoid a fight but are having one anyway? Of course it depends on your characters; maybe they like confrontation.

Yat-Yee said...

Tanita: I do need to inhabit the scene, and that's what's making me uncomfortable. But it may be part of that controlled burning that we talked about before, so I'm plowing ahead. With occasional side tracks to check my blog...

Yat-Yee said...

Scott: you've raised an interesting point. It has made me think more about how they react to fights. One of them is usually a people pleaser but has been needing to unload so this can be her chance. The other one is less emotional. She doesn't want the confrontation but she is not as affected and won't back out because the other person brought up a point she wants to address.

Thanks, Scott. Even just writing that has helped.

scott g.f.bailey said...

Whenever I have trouble getting into a scene, I step back and ask myself what are the things about the scene that interest me or make me feel uncomfortable, and try to forget about the plot point. The more a scene is about character, the better it is to read and--I really think--the easier it is to make the plot point work.

E. Arroyo said...

I usually try to link my characters with a defined person in my head then I think what would he/she do in that instance. It's not me, per se, reacting to that scene, but whoever I'm associating my character with. I hope that makes sense. =)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

I like E Arroyo's comment - picture someone and fight it out in your head as if it was you :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

I agree the above commenter who said your discomfort might make for a more compelling scene. Good luck - scenes like this are tough but they're usually the scenes that really stay with readers at the end.

Tanya Reimer said...

I found myself in a similar situation some time ago. My character needed to say good-bye to her dad. I just couldn't get into the scene. I wanted it peaceful, memorable, but I was surrounded by wrestling kids, and I didn't want to say good-bye. I couldn't get into it. So I didn't. I made of note of what I wanted and left it.

Three months later, after the entire thing was written-- minus this scene-- I woke up with inspiration and wrote my magical scene. I guess I just needed space from it, time to get to know my characters better.

Domey Malasarn said...

I avoid confrontation a lot myself, and argument scenes like this are exciting for me because I get to go into the head of someone more reckless. It's thrilling!