Why You Need to Embrace the Conflict in Your Story

Sad Face

Characters are like babies. Sometimes they need to be held. Photo by Pink Sherbert Photography

Characters are like small children. Sometimes they just need to be held.

I recently read a novel that, on the surface, was nearly perfect. It had an action packed plot, a love triangle, and a feel good ending.

However, as I read, I noticed that every time a major conflict in the story would come up, the author would back off. She would briefly show the conflict, but then skip on to the next scene, leaving the reader to sort everything out.

It was almost as if the author knew she needed conflict, but was so uncomfortable with it she wanted to slip the conflict into the story and get out as soon as possible.

Melodrama vs. True Drama

Melodrama happens when you try to take more and more conflict and cram it into the story, hoping you can evoke an emotional reaction by the sheer number of conflicts.

Real drama, however, is created by sitting with the conflict, by turning it over to see its different perspectives, by fully embracing the conflict with your prose.

When I read American Pastoral, by Philip Roth, I remember being surprised that he spent several pages describing the protagonist’s reaction after seing his prodigal daughter for the first time in years. It was a simple scene, but Roth made in heartbreaking by observed the internal conflict in his protagonist from every angle.

Characters are like small children. Sometimes they just need to be held. (Want to tweet that?)

Frigidity: When You Don’t Care Enough

Are you willing embrace the conflict in your story, or are you trying to get it over with as soon as possible?

Are you sympathetic to your characters’ emotions, or are you afraid to immerse yourself in their reactions?

John Gardner calls this disconnect from your characters frigidity. He says:

Strictly speaking, frigidity characterizes the writer who presents material, then fails to carry through—fails to treat it with the attention and seriousness it deserves. I would extend the term to mean a further coldheartedness as well; the given writer’s inability to recognize the seriousness of things in the first place, the writer who turns away from real feeling, or sees only the superficialities in a conflict of wills, or knows no more about love, beauty, or sorrow than one might learn from a Hallmark card. —The Art of Fiction, John Gardner

Ouch. I’m sure he’s not talking about you, but if you’re keeping your characters at arms length, it’s time to get in close and fully embrace the conflict in your story.

Have you ever wanted to avoid the conflict in your story? What did you do to embrace it?

PRACTICE

Take a scene from a work in progress or a practice you wrote recently and rewrite the conflict. Try to sit with it, to see things from the perspective of your characters, and treat their plight with the “seriousness it deserves.”

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to comment on a few practices by other writers.

Happy writing!

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

Join the Community!

If this post helped you improve at the craft, consider subscribing. It’s fast, free, and you’ll make our day:

You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts.

  • Missaralee

    **Trigger warning, this scene mirrors domestic abuse, so please exercise self care and skip over it if you feel it might be a trigger for you.**

    —This practice is a further continuation of a piece I started here ages ago. I was hesitant to expand on this conflict in my earlier drafts—

    Crusoe pinned Vic to the floor, his knees firmly pressed on her forearms and his weight holding her down. “I hoped we could do this the easy way, lass, but I know you’re determined to be difficult.”
    “Let go of me. Let go. Get off.” Her voice cracked. His weight was an iron clamp holding her to the rough concrete. She panicked, her eyes darting madly past Crusoe, looking for an escape. Looking for a rescue that couldn’t arrive.

    “I’m going to give you something to make this easier on you. You’ll have to trust me, those suits know what they’re about and you’ll soon be back on your two feet raining on everyone’s parade, alright?” He held up a small vial full of mercurial liquid and plunged a syringe into its topper, drawing the silver fluid up in bubbles.
    Vic couldn’t look away. Her eyes were fixed on each bubble that gulped up into the syringe’s resevoir. She was mesmerized by the tiny droplet, a perfect sphere of silver that spilled out of the needle, as he pressed the air out. The needle was pressed to the tender flesh of her inner elbow before she reacted. She bucked viciously, trying to throw the man off of her, or to knock the syringe to shatter on the hard floor. But his hold on her was secure and he deftly stuck in the needle and drained it, not the least moved by her flailing hands and kicking legs. He sat unmoving for long moments, his gaze on her face was unerving so she turned away to stare down the long, dark hallway. Tears, shinning like beads of mercury slid from her eyes. She didn’t have the heart to claim they were tears of rage. Her limbs were heavy with defeat. She was deafened by a ringing in her ears, wailing like heartbroken children. Her Crusoe had done this to her. Her savior. She had turned her back on solitude to follow this man across the continent. How could she be so stupid, so dull witted? She had ignored her survival instinct, had allowed herself to be ensnared by…she couldn’t even form the word in her mind without disdain rising in her throat. A four letter word she had sworn to disown. It made no difference now, she might as well be frank. She had fallen for him. Hard. She loved him. This monster, who had betrayed her for his own benefit. She was a simpleton.
    The iron clamp loosened its grip on her arms. She still couldn’t breathe freely, despair had seized her lungs in its fist. Crusoe stood above her and reached out his hand. “On your feet, there’s only one thing left.” When she didn’t take his hand, he grabbed her gently by both wrists and hoisted her up. He led her through the first door in the hallway. It was dark, but a strip of blue light crawled around the perimeter of the floor. She heard the door click behind her and the bolt slide to.
    She lunged for the door, already knowing she was too late. “No. You can’t do this Crusoe. You can’t lock me in the dark.” Vic pounded on the steel door until her fists were raw and bruised. She slumped back onto the concrete floor and watched the shadow of Crusoe’s footsteps retreating from the crack under the door. She hugged her knees up to her chest and wrapped shaking arms around them. Her knuckles were white as her hands gripped her legs. The metallic, dusty scent of the place seeped into her mind, sticking like ash to the memories of trees and sunlight she tried desperately to summon up to block out the darkness and the blue light. What was that shot he had given her? Why did she feel her mind draining away like cool water? The sticky paste of confinement circled her tongue in a sickly kiss.

    • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

      What beautiful writing. I was hoping you’d reveal what it was in the syringe but turns out your character (who might be suffering a sever case of Stockholm syndrome?) doesn’t know either! Blast!

      • Missaralee

        Thank you Karl! The short, enigmatic answer to what’s in the syringe is: mind control. The long answer gives away the mystery! If I ever get around to completing this short story series, you’ll still get to be surprised by the truth.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Very strong writing Missaralee! Love, love, love it.

      • Missaralee

        Thanks, Giulia :)

    • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

      Great writing, and glad to know it’s part of a larger body of work in progress. I hope you go for it!

      • Missaralee

        Thanks, John! I must admit I’m almost too in love with the story and the concept to finish it…I’m afraid to botch it. Is that weird?

        • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

          Not weird, very understandable. I have felt just that way myself about stories I want to write.

        • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

          I think it’s understanable. What’s weird is starting a story and deciding less than a week later that you hate it. I do that consistently.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

    Adric held his dying friend in his arms. He cried tears of anger or sadness, he knew not which. Bertram who had trained with him, Bertram who had shared a bunk with him in the barracks, Bertram who’d grown up in the same village now lay in Adric’s arms with blood and dirt staining his cheeks struggling to speak. “Let me die” choked from between his lips. “I won’t let you die, look around you it’s only us left!” Was he being selfish to keep his friend alive, to will him back to health despite his want to pass over? Then red spurts erupted from the front of Bertram’s face and an arrowhead protruded from the bloody hole where his nose used to be. The warm liquid splattered in Adric’s eyes and in his mouth and he spat and choked. One was still alive?

    Sure enough Adric looked up, across the field over all those dead men a Hestian archer aimed straight at him. The archer’s red leather marked him as an enemy and Adric let Bertram fall to the ground. He stood and belted a ferocious war-cry as he gripped his axe handle with both hands and chucked it forward. The top heavy murderweapon spun through the air, its cast iron head whooshing, slicing through the atmosphere and Adric heard a muffled splat as the axehead stuck in the archer’s skull.

    Adric walked to the archer to retrieve his axe. The bodies he stepped over, good god above the sheer volume of death that surrounded him would haunt him. The irony of the situation itched his brain like a tick digging deeper and deeper. The very valley all the men had fought to, the earth itself would see decay of the very men who’d fought to occupy it. And what would they say back in Sallis? Adric pulled his axe from the Hestian’s skull and wiped the blood on the grass, staining it from a natural green to a morbid red smear on the Earth.

    What would he tell his father? The man who’d taught him to throw an axe in the first place and yet forbade his participation in the fight? “If you march to that valley, do not march back into this home” his father had said. And now he had to. Father, you were right, he would have to say. The fight was futile and fruitless after all, as no man stood alive to defend the valley. But it wasn’t Adric’s fault; he’d gone for the good of the village Sallis, to fight in honor of those close to him. His father understood not his reasoning, only understood Adric’s disobedience.

    Perhaps his mother would talk sense into his father as she’d been the only one to get through his thick head. She’d cry, he looked forward to her warm embrace as he swung open the front door of his childhood home. She’d cry and she’d understand, and then what? He sheathed his axe and trotted north back to Sallis. “As they say,” he thought, “cross the bridge when you come to it.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

      It seems I should have done a little editing. Gosh darn it now everybody will know that I’m not perfect.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        What editiing? I didn’t notice any mistakes, I was too caught up in the story. Great practice.

      • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

        No judgement as to the need for editing, it reads well to me. Adric’s feelings for his dying friend, his motives for being where he was and his stormy relationship with his father, and the unconditional love for and from his mother, are all well delineated. I second the “Good Practice”!

    • Missaralee

      I like how you showed that Adric was moved by the volume of death. It grounds the conflict. I read a lot of hero types these days who just finish fighting and wander off with no feeling for what was left out on the field.

  • John_Fisher

    Jim Liberton strapped on the bass guitar and faced the other members of the praise band, aware as ever of his own increasing sense of isolation and frustration. They would rehearse familiar numbers in the minutes leading up to the actual service. Underneath the ostensibly light banter with the others — “Yes, Chuck, that suspended chord is the same as it was last month, ha ha . . . ” — was an increasingly uncomfortable awareness that he had less and less in common with these people as the years dragged on; the nature of their commitments, family, career, precluded their actually getting together during the month between services to practice, whereas Jim had deliberately declined many of those things and lived for the music. The music, not the lyrics; this was religious music, and Jim was no longer a believer. He continued to play monthly at this church for reasons that seemed more vague and faded as time went by — to honor Kimberly, who had loved to sing with and for these people and who loved everybody unconditionally and was beloved in return, and who had been honored with a brick outside in the Departed Saints Walk even though she hadn’t been a member of the church; because Jim loved and believed in music as an expression of the highest and best of the human spirit even though he no longer credited the theology behind the lyrics; a willingness to let others be who they are as long as that same willingness was returned. The heated Facebook exchange and eventual defriending by one church member in the months leading up to the election nagged at his mind. Other comments from various members of the aging and diminishing congregation reflected the fact that others were as passionate in their beliefs as he was in his. But so far, he had kept showing up, for the music, for his wife who was no more. And he felt the guilt that was increasingly associated for him with simply being in church. He’d not led a saint’s life, either bofore or after Kimberly, and that was readily ascertainable to anyone who might check public records.

    The Praise Leader stepped to the microphone: “Good morning! We’re glad your’e all here . . . ” Six persons grace the large, stately old fellowship hall.

    One of those six, stocky, muscular, still redoubtable at eighty, Reed Marcher sat and gazed steadily at the long-hair with the bass guitar. Fifty years, Reed thought, beginning a slow simmer. Fifty years I have worked in public education, I have sponsored youth groups, I have led bible studies, have done everything I could to help guide these young people right, and . . . there. Just look at him. Like somethin’ out of the DAMNable ‘sixties. Go look THAT’un’s record up on line, you’ll see the record of a person who has CHOSEN his own damnation. And a-carryin’ on like that after Kim died . . . why, I oughta . . . the boy needs to be SPOKEN to. And I’m just about the man to do it.

    Reed could feel the warmth in his face.

    The songs and the devotion are at an end. Seven people, congregants and minister, stand in a circle holding hands, having just sung “Let There be Peace on Earth.” The minister speaks the concluding words: ” . . . and may the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ go with you all. Amen.”

    Reed drops the hands of the others, balls his fists at his sides, and starts forward.

    • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

      Fantastic; what a great portrayal of a conflict with both sides having legitimate feelings.

      • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

        Thank you, Karl!

  • Madison

    Something from a story I’ve been working on since January 8, 2012.

    I remember how I felt every moment. When I saw her under that damn tree, how silent she was. I ran to her as fast as I could and knelt down and put her head in my lap. My body hurt and she kept saying, “Ça va bien. Bien, bien, non.” I’m fine. I ripped her dress and I kept trying to wipe the blood from her shoulder because I know she didn’t like blood. It made her ill and she told me to stop, but I didn’t. I didn’t listen to anything she said. She was so selfish under that tree. Why was she doing this to me? Why didn’t she want me to make her better? I wanted to make her better. She didn’t want me to.

    “I’m sorry. Amara, I’m so sorry. Please don’t die. Please don’t die.”

    Right after, she did. She did that on purpose. She was a bitch. Why’d she do that? Why’d she do that to me?

    “Blink. Blink, Amara. Tell me something. Tell me a story, please. What was your dream last night?” She wasn’t answering me on purpose. I knew that. “I’ll tell you mine. It was you and—and me. And Vega was there. Shit, Vega. Vega, what’d she do to you, Amara? Don’t die. Don’t die, please. Please, blink.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

      Ooh that was entrancing. I like how your character says Amara died on purpose that was a really good line.

      • Madison

        Thank you so much! I like that one too! :)

    • http://thewritepractice.com/ John Fisher

      The perception of vulnerability side-by-side with the perception of selfishness . . . feeling love and anger and anxiety at the same time for the same person. That’s how conflict is in life. Excellent portrayal!

      • Madison

        Exactly! Thank you so much! :)

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Oh, this is heart wrenching. I feel so sorry for your character.

      • Madison

        Oh, me too. I love Willie (my character’s name). He’s a good guy. Thank you so much!

        • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

          You’re welcome Madison.

    • Thomas Petri

      Cool. I could really feel the anger and frustration of your character. Keep going with this.

      • Madison

        That’s perfect! Thank you! I will!

  • James Devlin

    This is awesome advice!
    Thanks!

    http://writeractive.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/Karoline_Ott Karoline

    Note: This is NOT complete scene. Also, I am a teenager and amateur; I have a lot to learn.

    Under the starless sky lit only by a slither of moon, King Roldan kneeled beside an ice-cold stream, washing dried blood off his forearm. In the distance clashing swords, clanging armor and cringe-worthy cries sounded, echoing through the still wood like the shrill shriek of a ghost. He ripped a strand of cloth from his trouser leg, wrapping it around the fresh gash on his right arm.
    Despite darkness, his bright red blood could be seen flowing through the
    stream, almost lighting up the water with its horrid vibrancy. Rising to his
    feet with a grunt and stepping his sore leg to the ground Roldan
    jumped, when his foot bumped into the limp form of a sleeping soldier.
    “Don’t mind me your majesty.” A hoarse voice croaked from below. But telling
    King Roldan not to mind an injured man was just about as good as telling a
    flower not to bloom. “What’s your name?” he asked, his voice though scratchy
    was soothing.
    The man inhaled the cold air, his every breath like that of a dying man, struggling
    to cling to life. “They call me Drake, sire.”
    The king’s grey eyes dropped. Slowly he sank down onto the grass next to the man, now vaguely visible in the measly moonlight. “Hello Drake.” Every syllable
    exuded the compassion of brokenness. “What happened to you?”
    “My leg.” He sighed, gesturing a finger. “Shot in the side of ma’ knee right where
    de’ armor ends.”
    “When?”
    “Yesterday evenin’.”
    “You’ve been laying here since last night? And what have they done to help you?” “I don’t think there’s nowt much they can do.” Roldan screwed his eyes shut, and clutched the dirt beneath his hand . “Carlisle said I won’t be able to walk…for a while anyway.”
    When the king lifted his head to see the hopeful eyes and smiling mouth of the
    faithful soldier, his own eyes filled with tears. Every evening for the past
    fortnight Roldan had sat alone by his horse, listening to the men brag about
    their battle scars and the number of men each individual had slain. To them,
    bloodshed was victory, while cost was considered irrelevant of their goal: to
    kill until triumph. Heartbreak of children, wife, sweetheart or sister could
    not matter unless experienced themselves. The discordant symphony of the
    battlefield, muddling common goals and common heartbreak somehow constituted
    warfare. Crouching next to his injured fellow man surrounded by slender pine trees, King Roldan could not distinguish these deaths between
    the murder of his daughter, and the loss of his son. He realized that some things never become easy.

    asateenwriter.blogspot.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

      This is good writing. I think most of us are amateurs in our own right and we all have a lot to learn. Keep this up you have great descriptions. Seems like a great King you created here. :]

    • Anais

      The imagery your desciptions produce is great stuff — informative and captivating without being overwhelming. And I absolutely adore your voice! Who do you read?

      • http://twitter.com/Karoline_Ott Karoline

        Thank you for your encouraging words! I mostly read classic literature. Jane Austen is my favorite. But I’m trying to branch out in what I read. For me that is reading more modern American literature like, (gasp) The Great Gatsby. :)

  • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

    Elliot sits on the hardwood floor in the corner of the empty bedroom and shakes. His butt is sore and his back aches, but he doesn’t have the desire to stand just yet. Memories of the last year tumble through his mind. Images of wine-tasting in Sonoma. Carving initials in an ancient oak behind an abandoned barn. The reflective shimmer in her eyes when he dropped to one knee. Her elegant beauty on their wedding day. And the peace in her unseeing eyes the moment before she died.

    They had fought the day of the wine-tasting. She wanted to go to beach, but he urged that there wasn’t enough time to visit the suggested vineyards and make the beach before sunset. “Besides,” he said, “it’ll be too cold.” They barely spoke the rest of the day. He wasn’t sure he loved her yet.

    There was an old tobacco barn in the woods behind his grandmother’s house. They sneaked out after lunch and consummated their love under the cool shade of an oak tree just beyond that old barn. Elliot remembers lying on his back in the long, lush summer grass and staring at the dangling end of a frayed rope that once held a childhood tire-swing.

    A year later he proposed. It was spontaneous. He had been carrying the small, gold ring around for weeks, waiting to get the courage to ask. They were at a restaurant. Her restaurant. She had just let the last customer out. No, that wasn’t right. There were still customers there. Why can’t I remember?

    “God!”
    The cry is long and shrill and leaves Elliot short of breath. It echoes through the empty house and returns as painful as it left. He inhales deeply
    and squeezes his eyes shut as if plunging them into a deeper darkness will erase his memories and pain. Tears and snot stain the right
    sleeve of his thick, brown sweater. The sweater Kayte gave him at Christmas.

    • Juliana Austen

      I like this Jason – a great mix of happy memories and despair. His confusion over getting the memory right is great.

  • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

    I’m going to share my practice. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it myself, it took me a lot longer than normal to write. I really appreciate any feedback you might have. It’s more of my ghost story that I’ve been working on.

    ———

    “Tom, you said she says you’re holding her here? Then you have to let her go,” she said. “You have to—say good-bye.”

    Tom shook his head quickly, the action both jerky and desperate. Cassandra didn’t know, he thought, she didn’t know how much he loved Anne. How much he would always Anne. It was impossible for him to let her go, all of his future hopes and dreams had died with Anne. His heart now was nothing but shards of broken glass, and what Cassandra asked was impossible. But Cassandra was determined, and stubbornly persisted. “Tom listen—listen!
    You love her, you hold her here. She’s haunting you, changing you because you
    won’t let her go. This grief of yours—it’s keeping her here. Here in this very
    room. You have to let her go.”

    Tom shook his head again. “I can’t. I can’t. I love her. I love her so much, you don’t know. I love her from my soul and she…”his voice broke and fresh tears poured down his face and Cassandra could barely make out his next words; “she left me alone.”

    “Tom, you’re not alone. We’re with you. And we love you. Please,” Cassandra said, “you can let her go. You have to. Your refusal to let her go is giving this—this residual bit of the woman you loved power to destroy you, Tom. Please Tom, let her go. Say good-bye. She’s here, with us now. Can’t you feel her? Say good-bye,” Cassandra urged.

    Tom look around the room which was now nearly frigid. He met his sister’s eyes only briefly, knowing that what she said was right. Anne was with them in the room, or some part of Anne. Perhaps the part of her that didn’t want to let him go, anymore than he wanted to let her go. She had been so beautiful, and full of life. Always living in exactly the moment, never moaning about the past or worrying about the future. He had loved her care free, generous spirit. But what he felt now in the room with him was not his Anne,but a twisted devotion, a facade of her unflinchingly love and loyalty. A feeling that was unnatural and not worthy of Anne. Or of him. He leaned his head back against the headboard, unaware that he that he Cassandra’s hands in a death grip once again, and closed his eyes. Cassandra watched as a range of emotions flitted across his face—anger and despair coupled with remorse, and then his chest lifted with a deep breath.

    “Good bye Anne,” he whispered. His head dropped onto his knees then, and his shoulders shook with silent sobs. Cassandra bent and put her arms around him and a sudden sob rent from him. It was several minutes before he was still again and looked up at his twin.

    “Cassandra.”

    “I’m here Tom,” she said, smiling into his bottle green eyes.

    • Juliana Austen

      Is this the one where his eyes were turning black? This is powerful stuff Guilia, I love the line “she left me alone” it sums up his grief so well.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Yes, it’s the same one Juliana. Glad you enjoyed it, I was really conflicted about this scene.

  • Juliana Austen

    Ok I don’t do conflict well – one of life’s “passive aggressives” that’s me! And this is very domestic but I would be grateful for feedback.
    Lee dropped the amber beads from one hand to the other – feeling the smooth, warmth of the stones. She held them up to the light marvelling as she always did at the range of colours – soft yellow, warm orange, rich brown each bead was subtly different.
    “Funny that she left you those.” Remarked her sister. They were clearing out their mother’s things before the old house was put up for sale.
    “I’ve always loved them, you remember she wore them with everything.”
    “Hmm you hardly ever saw her without them and then she stopped.”
    “I suppose that it got too hard, she stopped wearing lipstick too.” Lee wrapped the beads in tissue and put them in her bag. “What have you go there?”
    “Oh, just her rings I might take these.” her sister slipped the diamond ring onto her finger and held the sapphire one out to Lee. “Dad gave her this on their Anniversary – is 40 years “sapphire”?”
    “No I don’t think so – you take them. What about the paintings – has she put stickers on them?”
    “Some, I want the portrait I’ve always loved that one.”
    “It’s not original you know – not worth money or anything.”
    “How do you know?”
    “Well the original is the Art Gallery.”
    “Ok then maybe I don’t love it – it’s a bit dark and creepy really if I think about it.”
    “They always gave me the creeps those old faces staring down at us in that dark room of Nana’s. I can’t understand why mum kept it really – she never got on with dad’s mother.”
    Sarah shrugged. “What else? Maybe its time for a cup of coffee – this is a bit depressing really”
    “Do you think so? Lots of good memories – along with the sad.”
    “Yeah but you have all the good memories you were the favourite.”
    “You always say that! I don’t believe it is true!”
    “Hah! Look at the facts Lee – you were the youngest – you got to go to University, you got to do ballet lessons.”
    “Oh please – you took piano lessons and you said you didn’t want to go to Uni and travelled instead!”
    “She loved you more.”
    “What do you base that on?”
    Sarah shrugged.
    “No! – I want examples I want facts. Everytime we get together you start this up. It’s getting old.”
    “Thanks!”
    “What I mean is you use this as an excuse a get out of jail card. “Mummy didn’t love me! Poor me!” You made the decision to travel to India instead of going to Uni. Mum and dad supported you – paid for your tickets. They were there for you when Peter was getting violent – they rescued you and your children. But you have nothing but bad things to say about her. And mum never defended herself she just took all your crap and was still there to pick up the pieces. And now you are picking over her things pulling out the bits that have the most value like a … like a vulture!”
    “How dare you call me a vulture! She gave you those beads in her will! The only thing she mentioned in her will! That proves it!”
    “No it doesn’t she just knew I loved them and perhaps she knew that you would do your utmost to get them just because they mean so much to me.”
    “So we had little chats did we – you and mummy dearest about you would get – how much more to do weasel out of her?”
    “That is so unfair! I came and saw her every week I took her shopping, I took her to the doctor. Where were you?”
    “I live in another city in case you hadn’t noticed.”
    “It’s not that far away and a phone call just occasionally wouldn’t have hurt you and it would have meant the world to her.”
    “I did phone her! And whenever I phoned her all she talked about was you and your kids and how great they were.”
    Lee sighed “I know I know – coz you know what? All she talked about to me was you, were you ok? Were you too thin – she thought you might be anorexic.”
    “Really?” Sarah laughed “She was a funny old thing. I do think she resented me sometimes – because I was daddy’s little girl.”
    “Yes, yes you were.” Lee heaved a sigh “But we are no-ones little girls now. Lets get that coffee.”

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      This is very true to life Juliana. I like that last line, “we are no-one’s little girls now” especially.

  • http://brianbbaker.com/about/ Brian B Baker

    Wonderful post. I’ve been seeing this a lot lately. If a writer doesn’t get into the details of their writing and who their characters are the audience won’t understand the characters either!