“Conflict is like Confetti” is not so much a good simile as it is a good example of alliteration. I can wring some truth out of the comparison, however. Writers can always twist things around.
At a party, confetti livens things up. It adds sparkle and lets the party-goer know the host or hostess wanted to enhance the festive mood by providing glittery bits of foil in bright colors. Confetti just says “Happy!”
Of course, it is possible to have a party – a darn good party – without confetti. You can have a handful of friends, or a houseful. Add tasty food and some beverages of choice – coffee, tea, soda, cocktails, champagne, fine wine, or wine out of a box, beer. Doesn’t matter as long as the guests are enjoying themselves. Throw a little music into the mix, and plenty of interesting conversation. Voila-a great party. And there’s not a speck of confetti anywhere.
Confetti is not necessary for a party, but conflict is essential to a good story or novel. Conflict in fiction energizes the writing. It keeps the reader turning the pages. Conflict moves the plot along, and it allows the reader to identify with the characters as real people who face obstacles and overcome them.
I won an advanced copy of Mary Kay Andrews new novel, Save the Date.
I’d never read Andrews, but I loved the novel from the beginning. I adored the characters, the setting, and the plot.
Cara Kryzik runs a florist shop in Savannah. Her new business is housed in a charming old building with a tiny apartment upstairs and a private, pocket-sized courtyard garden in the back.
In the first few pages of the novel, Andrews throws in the conflict – liberally, like a handful of confetti at a party. Cara wakes up to find her flower cooler has stopped working, and $12,000 worth of flowers and bouquets are dead. The high-society wedding is the next day!
Before the first chapter ends, Cara’s father phones and berates her for getting behind on payments for the $20,000 loan he advanced her to start the business. He says he’s calling in the loan and advises her to close the shop immediately.
Andrews keeps up the conflict, chapter after chapter. Just as one problem is solved, another more difficult one takes its place.
The conflict kept me reading until the very end. It also inspired me with my own writing. In my WIP, my main character arrives at the mall thirty minutes before it closes to buy a birthday gift for her niece. On the way to the department store, she falls and twists her ankle. A caterer, she has a family brunch planned as well as a birthday party for the children. The events are taking place the next day.
I managed to present the conflicts in the first two paragraphs of the story.
The next time you see confetti, think of how it adds a bit of sparkle to a mundane event. Use the image as a reminder to toss in plenty of conflict in your writing. It’ll add that pizzazz to keep the reader staying up past bedtime to find out what happens next.