by Rachael Phillips
Will we earthly writers also write in heaven?
Your current sinking scene and malfunctioning computer may push you toward kicking it out the window and praying for its eternal perdition. But if you are a true writer, you probably fish computer and story out of the yew bushes and try again.
And yes, you hope we will write in heaven.
I know I do.
We will, however, need to rethink our entire approach to storytelling, because in heaven we will experience no conflict. God will have perfected our minds and natures. Our circumstances. Even our computers. Our glorified stories there will dwarf the tiny, ragged tales we patched together while on earth.
But the Rapture has not yet taken place, right? Please tell me I’m right. For my sake and my computer’s.
Thank you! [Wiping sweat off brow.] Where was I? Oh, yes. Until we go to heaven, conflict remains an important element of every story, even God’s. Conflict fuels plots, illuminates themes, fires characters, and ignites passion in readers that keep the pages turning. If you have attended recent classes, you have heard it preached like a catechism: fill your books with conflict. Every chapter. Every page. Every word. Soak your story in conflict; poke, provoke, even choke your reader with conflict.
Hmm. At this point, I experience conflict about conflict.
In real life, I try to avoid it. I may even read a novel to escape conflict. To relax. Yes, relax.
So why would I choose one in which not only the heroine and hero are at odds, but their co-workers, neighbors, weather conditions, pets, cars, appliances, zippers, and plastic wrap are engaged in all-out cosmic war?
A constant diet of conflict will give a reader ulcers—probably not an author’s intent. Unless you want to make him wish fervently for heaven, which is one form of pre-evangelism, I suppose. But real life already does that.
How about you? Do you find yourself pairing a nice evening of novel-reading with extra Zantac? Or Prozac?
Do all genres require similar amounts of conflict? In your genre, where do you draw the line?