Sunday, November 23, 2014

on conflict

Although I hope to someday help people with their battles (internal, external, or both), I struggle with establishing conflict in my writing. I forget that at the core, it's about wanting something and the threat of that desire being taken away.

Over the past few years, I've learned that it's difficult to dislike someone once I understand his or her internal conflicts. Each person has a collection of struggles that may not always be visible.

 I've been reading about the nature of conflict, whether it's in regards to man vs. self or man vs. others, and found this insightful gem: 

"Don’t leave your hero alone very long. Have at least two characters on stage whenever possible and let the conflict spark between them. There can be conflict with nature and your hero can struggle against storm or flood, but use discretion. … You could write a gripping story about a struggle between a lone trapper and a huge, clever wolf. But the wolf is practically humanized in such a story and fills every role of villain. The wolf too wants something and does something about it. A storm doesn’t want anything and that’s why its conflict with man is generally unsatisfactory. It doesn’t produce the rivalry which is the basis of good conflict."

~Samuel Mines

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Amy Poehler love

Amy Poehler's book is just like her: hilarious, warm, and relateable. She has a way of  making you wish you could be her friend. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Good luck to everyone participating in NaNo! This post isn't writing related but deals with a topic artists are familiar with.

I've discussed loneliness here before (and its distinction from solitude----a necessary virtue for creation). Over the past couple of weeks, I've met people studying suicide prevention, depression, and human connection.  There's a lot of ongoing research about the paradox of social media: despite having more access to human lives, people report higher levels of loneliness, and social interaction has declined. Individuals who report feeling lonely have an increased risk of suicide, are more likely to experience poorer outcomes after surgery, and have a higher chance of passing away from medical conditions.  I wonder if it'll someday be appropriate to cite an emotional epidemic as a legitimate public health concern. 

This quote beautifully expresses the sentiment of loneliness: