Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm Surrounded By Idiots!

Mindy here. And no, my title is not in reference to my family. But do you ever feel like that? Like everyone around you is totally oblivious? Case in point, I was at Walmart the other day. As I pull a full shopping cart up to my vehicle, an SUV jerks to a halt, waiting impatiently for me to move so they can pull into the parking space alongside me. Never mind the fact that there is another right beside that one that's even closer to the building.

Finally, everything is loaded and I'm ready to head home. I pull out of my parking spot and slowly move down the row of parked cars. Apparently I was invisible. No less than five people continued their trek either toward the store or their own cars RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Hell-ooo! When did the middle of the road become THE place to walk?

External conflict. Every one of these people were in the way of not only me, but my goal--to get home.

We know that conflict is what drives our stories. Both internal and external. External is what prevents our protagonist from making an important once-in-a-lifetime meeting. Or a police officer from catching the suspect. Thus creating more conflict, this time internal, as they deal with the fallout.

As always, it's about balance. Push and pull. Internal and external. Whatever stops our characters from reaching their goal too soon.

Do you ever feel like you're surrounded by idiots? What about your characters? What sends them into a rant? Can there ever be too much conflict in a story?

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Sounds like a couple of shopping trips ago - we were nearly backed into not once . .. not twice . . . but THREE TIMES in the same parking lot.

    Thanks for making me think. Sometimes I spend so much time inside my protagonist's head that I forget that it's the EXTERNAL conflict that creates action and even MORE for them to think about.

  2. This world is full of idiots, not only that but I need to use a handicap tag and most of the time those spots are full up. I see young people park in one and get out as good as you please and go walking up to the store, with not a limp or anything. Who do these folks think they are, the state makes it too easy to get a tag, but they are cracking down now, they are going to have a picture on them the next time we newnew so that will help some. MAYBE.
    And another Thing, someone took some keys and made 2 deep marks on my nice Tundra gray truck. Made me so mad I wish I new who it was, I would turn them in for vantilism.


  3. Edna, sometimes it seems like no one has any common courtesy anymore. Sad. They're only looking out for themselves. I'm sorry about your Tundra.

  4. Regina, I'm so glad I could help. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Great post, Mindy! External conflict is hard for me. I love internal angst and seem to have no trouble with that. But that external push and pull...whew! Hard work.

  6. Sometimes I get really embarrassed being the one who doesn't realize I'm in the way, lol.

    I'm now working on a story to deepen and edit. When I wrote the rough, I had a hard time letting the heroine get into enough trouble. Now I'm ready to really make her fight her way through the story.

    So yes, conflict is crucial :-)

  7. Oh, I loved this post! I'm catching up on Saturday morning. We spend way too much time at Wal-mart, but I've experienced the same thing as you. It makes me want to blow the horn at them--especially with parents who are walking alongside their little ones right in the middle of the road. Are they insame?