When I write a tense scene but am not feeling the frustration or anger, I reflect on one of many real life arguments. Last night my husband, our two sons, and some of the neighborhood kids were tossing a Frisbee across the street. Seems like a fun, innocent activity, right? Not according to a woman who drove by. She stopped her car and demanded that my husband pull all the kids off the street and keep them locked up in either the house or our backyards, since cars have the right of way.

My husband argued with her and I could feel the tension in the air. So did all the children watching. The scene reminded me of something you watch in movies.

Often my novels reflect the countless problems I have experienced or witnessed throughout my life. I tap into the feeling of a memory and let my characters react according to their personalities.

Does real life conflict help with your writing?


8 thoughts on “Conflict

  1. It does help me…I try to visualize a playback in my mind and then capture it. Still, though, I struggle getting the emotion and tension across in just the right way I want. I consistently underplay the effect and do a lot or re-writing, switching around word-choices; it is frustrating!


  2. Real life does help. Sometimes I will watch a program like Dr. Phil to get ideas. There’s a lot of drama there that I (thankfully) don’t have in my life. Then, my husband arrives home and wonders what the heck I’m watching. It’s a sad exercise in research, but helpful.


    • Hi Stacy, thanks for stopping by! You are fortunate to not have a lot of drama in your life in today’s world. TV is a great way to find ideas for conflict. Research regarding conflict is often sad, and I try to think about my story so I don’t get depressed.


  3. I’m such a laid back person in real life that I don’t have too many heated moments with people.

    I think conflict in scenes comes naturally (well, in theory! :D) when two characters want different things that are at least somewhat mutually exclusive. Conflict can feel forced when characters are just squabbling for no reason. Though that happens in real life, we tend to expect logic on the page. Silly readers!


  4. oh la la, that wouldn’t of gone over well with me!!
    Cars before kids? Especially since they were with dad and safe? ah bon!

    I think that moments in my life of tension, allow the tension to be remembered, but I don’t usually go to real life. I like to get the tension from my characters. I have a hard time crossing over like that. Normally, if I’m not feeling I go someplace else in my wip. Thankfully that doesn’t happen often.


  5. The woman told my husband that she only has to ‘stop for cross roads’ and my husband took down her plate and called the police.

    I understand what you mean by using the characters’ tension. I’ve had so many situations in life that I just remember it while I write my scene.


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