As writers, we’re told to write conflict-laden work. Ratchet the conflict up, pour it on, drizzle it with chocolate—whatever—readers want it. Give it to them in the ultra mega big gulp size.
Well, a big dose of real-life conflict grabbed me by the throat on Friday and won’t let go. The company my husband has worked for twenty years is firing him. He’s a manager and a band of employees plotted to get him out. He’s too firm. They don’t like it. So they won. The company took their side, my husband is out of a job, and possibly won’t qualify for unemployment.
They haven’t officially “fired” him; they’ve just kept him dangling. “We’ll meet Wednesday,” his boss said. So we’re stuck. I’m a stay at home mom and we live paycheck to paycheck—more conflict.
I can’t eat or sleep. My hands won’t stop shaking. I’m crying. This isn’t fun. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to finish my novel, knowing I’m going to feel this same way when I toss in more crap for my character to deal with. Why do we like to read about such misfortune? Why can’t we read about bubble gum and rainbows more often than seeing the characters we love fall over and over again?
Is it the ride back, the stand after the fall? Does that mean I’ll have a happy ending too?
Tell me your story. Have you ever had the world crash in on you? What has that experience done to your writing?