My Conflict with Conflict

love hateI have a problem.  Sometimes when I read books, the conflicts the characters engage in make me absolutely irate or even sick to my stomach.  I want these lovely characters to get to enjoy themselves.

But then, when I read a book where the stakes are not high enough, where the conflict just isn’t present, I feel so cheated.

This tug-o’-war happens to me not only as a reader but as a writer too.  My writing group will tell you that one of my biggest faults is not including enough conflict for the characters.  (I just feel so bad for them!)  Thankfully, they force me to go back and raise the stakes.  Even I know that it is for the best.

Not to mention any thoughts on conflict in real life …

Related post:
Publishing Peace (and Conflict)

publishing peace (and conflict)

I just read Nahum after realizing that I’d forgotten Nahum was even in the Bible.  Whoops.

“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!” (Nahum 1:15a)

Such an interesting choice of words– “who publishes peace.”  Definitely makes this writer stop and think.  In my writing, do I bring good news, do I publish peace?  Juxtapose this question with all I have been learning lately about conflict in stories: how we need conflict in stories even when we avoid it in real life.

Think of the gospel– the word gospel itself means “good news”– and yet it is full of conflict.  The climax of the story involves a death.

And a resurrection.

While I’m still sorting out my thoughts on this, what this means to me is that while a Christian author needn’t shy away from the conflict (and, in fact, should embrace conflict in the story!), there should also be a nod toward hope, toward peace.  The story might not end with sunshine or weddings or all the questions answered (I think I’d be annoyed if it did), but I think there should be a peek, a pinch, an inkling of hope.

I want to be a writer who brings good news, who publishes peace.  And conflict.  All of it.