How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?
Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!
Write A story centered on conflict
Without conflict you don’t have a story, you just have a series of things happening.
Be sure to put your protagonist in a situation today, where they need to do something they really don’t want to do, talk to someone they really can’t stand, or run from something they’d rather stay and do.
Conflict can be car chases or it can be the story of an alcoholic trying to resist taking that first drink in 25 years.
Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!
31 thoughts on “2019 Day 8 – Conflict”
Conflict happens to us everyday, but there are some that are heavier than others…
Heaviest Door Ever
I can’t do it. The car door isn’t jammed. Just a quick push and the door will open. There are no mechanical reasons why this door should remain closed. No, it is something deeper, much deeper that prevents me from opening the car door.
I could blame the heat. It is over 110 degrees out there, the concrete of Phoenix reflects the heat like a mirror so that a hundred degrees increases to over 110. It’s hot, but that’s not it either. No, that’s not it at all. I’ve lived here for almost ten years and this is average for late summer. It is the Valley of the Sun afterall. But it’s not the heat.
What is it then? Simple, it’s fear. Fear of what comes next after I open the car door. Fear of having to pretend that I’m something I’m not. Fear that I will fail. Fear that I will succeed and then what? I close my eyes and lean back, my head resting on the headrest as the cool air from the car’s air conditioning soothes this uncertain moment.
I glance at myself in the mirror. It is not a young face that is looking back at me, no, not a young face anymore. Have I waited too long to make my claim? Am I a fool for believing my best days are still ahead of me? When you get to be my age, you start seeing yourself with a nine iron in your hand and an alligator on your shirt over your tit, telling tall tales as you pretend you know what you are doing. Mark Twain once said, “Golf is a way to ruin a perfectly good walk.” And yet Phoenix is a city built around a string of golf courses. God, I hate golf.
My flip phone is in my hand. I’ve been sitting in my car now for about fifteen minutes and people will start to look at me as if there is something terribly wrong with me. So I dial and her voice comes on the line, “George?”
I can’t find my voice.
“Is there something wrong?” She sounds very concerned and has no idea of how heavy the car door has become.
“I’m…I’m…having trouble opening the door right now.” I close my eyes. Sure, it’s code, but understands.
“If you can’t do this, come home. Nobody will think any less of you.” She waits, but I once again have trouble finding the right words.
“Alright…I love you.” I say as I push the “End” button on the phone. I hear her repeat that as her voice disappears.
A few months ago, I came home and wanted to get my teaching certification for the state of Arizona. After some research, I found this program at Arizona State University called INCITE, an acronym for something I can’t remember, but it was a full year teaching certification program that concludes with student teaching. I applied online and sent in all the required information and forms and a few weeks ago, I got my acceptance letter. Now it was time to put the leather to the road, but suddenly I found it impossible to open my car door. I had so many reasons not to do this, but each of them ended in the words, “I shoudda done it.” Now was the moment of truth.
For two years I had substituted at local school districts and let the love of teaching fill my heart once again, but could I put my emotions to the test? What if I failed? What if I found out that I just don’t have it in me? What if my mentor teacher from nearly ten years ago was right, that I should find some other meaningful occupation. She was wrong. She did not see me. She had no understanding of who I was. But now, I sit here and by opening the door, I could prove her wrong once and for all. She would never know, but I would.
Closed my eyes. Saw a classroom of students sitting in front of me. This is where I belong. This is my calling. Turned the handle, the door opened just like it was supposed to, just like it would have fifteen minutes ago when I arrived. It was not heavy, there was no additional weight from the thousand times I had opened it before. The hot air rushed in, all 115 degrees of it. I was able to get to my feet and even managed to take a step. And before I could even look back, I was standing at the big glass door proclaiming “ASU” in big white letters in case someone got confused. There was not an information desk and since my room was 312 on the schedule I held in my hand, I assumed my classroom was on the third floor and so I walked to the elevator and pressed “three.”
In just minutes I was in a student lounge where a dozen or so students sat with their laptops open, tapping away at the keys. A couple were talking near the large window where the sun’s last gleaming blasted the room. I sat by myself, watching other people carry on with the tasks of their lives without care or concern. And I wondered if they had felt the heaviness of their own car doors. Did any of them have a doubt that made them hesitate as it did me? As time for class drew near, I came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter.
Everyone will one day face something that seems like it will crush them, but if they believe in where they are going, their door will not be as heavy as they thought it would be. As I found out on that day.
I’m some behind but trying to keep up as much as possible 🙂 . I wanted to not make this people-centric too much…there’s so much intense, human-on-human conflict the world over as it is. So here goes…
It was just hanging in there, just flaunting itself for all the world to see, not aware of how embarrassing it looked to everyone else. Menacing to look at indeed, and if it could have barked, or even hissed at me of its own strength I’m convinced it would have.
At any rate, I knew its owner would.
I turned my head both ways to get a better look at it before just reaching out for it. Was it possible that maybe, just maybe it wasn’t as bad inside as it looked outside? I’d soon find out. Time was of the essence, this being a weekday and all that entails.
Hesitantly at first, with the “purple helper” in one hand, reaching out to it with the other when it happened. It’s owner squeaked at me. This time, with resolute determination, grimacing, I took the unsightly thing in hand and made an unsettling discovery.
It was indeed worse inside than I first thought. Or hoped? Gritting my teeth, I worked on that menace, its owner squeaking more and moving it so much that even spraying some water on it wasn’t providing much in the way of help to the monstrous mass several inches from my chin.
“Honey, sit still. Please! The more you move the longer this is going to take to brush out of your hair.” My baby girl seemed to have a knack for a quick come-back though. “But mommy, maybe it’s my first love!”, with that we busted out laughing so hard we both ended up on the floor.
…and I now see a few grammar & missing commas I left out. Just a couple spots. oy. Well, it was fun to write! 🙂
Not sure what prompted this story about a woman at home during a storm while husband is away on a business trip. When she can’t get to safety and must stay another night with water lapping at her doorstep, she and her husband get into a war of words over the phone because she didn’t leave sooner. Once she’s slammed down the phone, she realizes she’s all he has, and the thought of losing her is more than he can take. Happy ending, of course–storm stops, he gets home to his favorite meal…and all’s well with the world. Except, of course, for the downed tree that narrowly missed their bedroom and will have to be dealt with. Sounds mundane, but I think it has some good conflict between woman/storm, wife/husband, etc.
September 2019 Day 8 Conflict
I have written 1000 words about a young man torn between being able to support his mother and in so doing saving the family home, and leaving her when she was desperately lonely.
I think I can weave this into a story I am writing. That’s a bonus!
I like the premise!
When I first read today’s prompt, I had no idea what I was going to write. However, I suddenly got the idea to write a story about Nigel, aka Nig, who is offered a job, he’s not sure about taking.
This story needs tweaking, but I think if I go back to it, I could make it into a good story.
Initially I had a block and couldn’t get started, then I accidentally picked up an old diary and read the entries about our journey when Mum began to develop Dementia. I began writing and it flowed readily. It’s 1700 words and very rough round the edges but I’ve found a subject I can really use as source material.
I love that you got a flow going, though the emotions that triggered the flow can’t have been easy to bear. But then maybe strong emotions are what we need to get us going.
Hi Wendy, that sounds like a rich, if rough, vein of source material. Glad the writing flowed, though.
Done! Fun discussion topic at writers’ group tonight, so….
Tommia, what was the topic?
I shared what today’s challenge was (one other member in the group is doing this also). The items brought up were: conflict for writers: to publish/not to publish? To ignore or deal with the inner critics (and how – creatively). Time travel (now that we can talk about Avengers Endgame), and a variety of other wandering items.
Done with today’s. I wrote yesterday too, but forgot to report. Writing longer these last couple days, which is good, if a little tiring. Trying some longer narratives.
Today’s story begins:
His kids always accused him of being a curmudgeon. When they put him in assisted living he swore he’d prove them right.
I’m not finished yet but have hopes for this one. Three lessons I’ve learned from StoryADay.
1) Trust the process
2) Story ideas are there if I pay attention
3) Running helps shake them loose. I think I’ll call it “joggling”.
Janet, that IS a short story! Love it, and your lessons. Well, not the running. Careening about in my office chair, yes; running, no.
“Joggling” I love it!
I’m not a runner, but a brisk walk definitely does the same for me! (“Woggling”?)
I love the three lessons. Thanks for sharing!
I want to know if he succeeded in proving them right!! They should remember we don’t just get older–we get more wily and cunning! LOL
Done – https://afstoryaday.blogspot.com/2019/05/day-8-chapter-4-rogue.html
Interesting article on Tolkien and one of his few short stories
Thought it may be of interest to someone.
Thank you for sharing this article!
oo! Book-marking this to read later today. Thanks!
Marian, Steffie, where do I find the long story for Steffie? Very curious.
Steffie has only appeared in Story A Day May shorts. One of these years, I plan to collect them and publish them all together.
That would be interesting. Getting the in chronological order will be fun.
That will be so great!