“The Conflicts we have in the outside world are generally the conflicts we have within ourselves.”
The best example of conflict that I can think of comes from the animated movie Megamind (IMDb). It’s not just an example of a conflict in action, but it also serves to tell just how crucial a conflict is to a good script/ story/ plot/ central idea. Let’s see how.
After losing a staggering number of battles to the superhero of Metro City, our evil-minded protagonist/ villain – Megamind – defeats and kills (apparently) the hero Metro Man. But the joys of this glorious victory do not last for long. Why? Because – and I will quote the big blue-headed villain here – “things have become too easy”.
And that’s your lesson. Without an archenemy to vanquish, a nemesis to overcome, an adversary to defeat, there is no point for any hero (or villain) to go on. Just like Megamind, who lost interest in the city he had just brought down to its knees, we will lose interest in life if there are no challenges or conflicts to keep us preoccupied. In Megamind, the protagonist goes to the extent of creating a new superhero in order to get rid of the monotony of things – a move that readily backfires, much to our entertainment.
Think about it as a writer, and you’ll see that it is a very natural thing. Conflict is everywhere is our lives. The rebellious drive to oppose orthodox ideas, the audacity to challenge society, the recklessness to fight for the losing side – it is basic human tendency to seek conflict. And it is a universal truth that whatever we seek in real life, we must get in what we watch or read for entertainment.
As a writer, I experiment with a variety of ideas and styles of writing. Even when we write an article or a blog post, us writers have to ensure that we introduce a disturbing thought or idea to stir the reader and invoke their interest. Creative writing, and conflict becomes the centre of everything.
What is Irony? It is the conflict of the said with the unsaid.
What is Pun? It is the conflict of the word with the meaning.
What is Hypocrisy? It is the conflict of the presentation with the truth.
And most importantly – what is a writer? She (or he) is the conflict of that single person with the entirety of reality.
That’s what it takes to be a good writer. The ability to weave something material around this slippery concept of conflict. Alas, it cannot be taught, you are either born with it or you acquire it in an accident. But no need to worry – most people are good at conflicts (especially us Indians). A little practice goes a long way!
In my next article, I will explain how a conflict is introduced in any writing expedition.
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Image credits : Lifehack