Pick Your Battles


We hear this a lot in my house.

Just a few minutes ago, my brother was upset that the patches I’d ironed onto his sash were falling off. Something went wrong. I didn’t do a good job. Yeah, okay. I get that. But then he demands reimbursement.

He believes he payed me $25.00. I remember $14.00.

Now, I know nine bucks isn’t a huge difference and, as the nice, kind, loving, perfect person I’ve made myself out to be thus far, I should have just given up the difference, right? Wrong. I work too darn hard for my money. Since I work as an unofficial employee at my dad’s store, I only get paid $4.00 an hour. And THEN I have to split it up between 45% going to savings (which cannot be touched unless there’s an emergency – like hospital bill emergency), 45% going to me, and 10% going to church. Yes, we tithe in my house.

I earn money slowly and I work too hard for it. I’m an honest person. I will never willingly cheat anyone out of anything. Thankfully, I only had to pay my brother back $14.00.

Now, I realized that this can apply to writing!

Wait, what? Seriously? You and your bro had a spat and now your applying THAT to writing? Come on.

But no, for real.

Characters – especially siblings – should fight. In every scene there’s got to be conflict. Conflict propels the story. It forces the hero to make decisions and then to act upon those decisions.

Take a look at any family. The siblings will get into arguments. Granted, some are more behaved than others, but they still fight. But in stories, you won’t want to have pointless arguments between characters unless you’re trying to make a point.

For instance, a fight like the one my brother and I had would reveal the following about our personalities:

a) we are both very precise

b) we’re both stubborn

c) (what you didn’t get to see is that my bro had an awful temper – worse than my stereotypical temper that comes with being a redhead – and he was being very mean before my dad came home. When the adults arrived, he was acting very calm and “mature.”) my brother has a superficial attitude around adults.

d) I do not. I’m honest. If I’m angry with him, I’m not going to change my attitude and pretend it’s all good just because someone else shows up. – This is not to say I’m rude or disrespectful of authority. I just don’t put on a show.

e) my brother will relent if it makes him look good in the eye of authority.

f) I will stand firm by my beliefs.

As you can see, there are so many different things we can learn about character traits from a fight. Who’s stronger? Who’s smarter? Who’s calmer? Who’s going to put on a show if it makes them look better? Who’s going to stand strong?

See what I’m saying?

So let your characters fight, but only if it furthers the story or reveals your charries’ personality traits we wouldn’t see otherwise. 🙂 I’m not good at picking my battles. I should work on it. But the little things irk me. There’s one of my character quirks. 😛 I also have a tendency to speak before I think. I’m very sarcastic and can never hold back a comment. It’s landed me in quite a bit of trouble. 😛

So basically, choose the battles your babies will fight. Make sure it furthers he story.

There’s my food for thought for the day. 🙂

So what do you think? Do you agree? Got any other pointers?

God bless!
Rana

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