Sunday, August 07, 2016

Writing Prompt: The Skill Builder: Passive Aggression

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt focuses on an exercise designed to work on a particular skill or technique, such as a POV exercise or character builder. Today’s skill: Conflict.

Conflict is often based on anger—two sides battling it out. Bad guy vs. Good guy. But conflict also comes when two side disagree on the best way to accomplish a task or achieve a goal. Best friends can find themselves in conflict over something and never get mad.

Write a scene in which two (or more) people disagree, but aren’t angry or upset at each other.

This will help you to think about the lighter side of conflict, and help you craft scenes with multiple ideas for solving a problem. Not only with this add unpredictability to your novels, it’ll give you additional plotting options.


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  2. John set his suitcase down inside the front door, expecting to see the apartment filled with boxes ready for the movers. Sally was sitting on the floor, crying.

    He pulled her to her feet and kissed her forehead. “I know you only had a day’s notice and it’s been overwhelming trying to get this done by yourself. Let me take a quick shower and I’ll help.” He was exhausted from the three-hour plane ride, but felt guilty that he hadn’t been there for her.

    She followed him into the bedroom. “I was going to get boxes and the car wouldn’t start. I called the garage, but they couldn’t get all the way out here to the lake until tomorrow. Christine was supposed to bring some boxes and help me pack, but she went into labor.”

    “Hell of a time for that to happen. The car, I mean.” He started the shower, then looked at his watch and came back out. “Aren’t the movers supposed to be here at six?”

    “Yes. We have less than three hours and we don’t have boxes.”

    “You should have called me. I could have picked up some on the way from the airport.”

    “I tried.”

    He looked at his cell phone. It was still in flight mode. He turned off the water and rolled up his sleeves. “We can throw everything into trash bags.”

    “Trash bags?”

    “That’s what I did when I moved in with you. We don’t have much. It’s only two tiny rooms and a few dishes, pots and pans. He pulled a large box of Glad bags from the kitchen closet and held out a handful to her. “We put the heavy stuff in the bottom of the bags and wrap fragile items in clothes and linens.”

    “Movers don’t move trash bags. We need boxes.” She stepped back, refusing the bags.

    He handed her his car keys. “Go to Walmart and get some.”

    “Walmart is in Centerville. That’s almost an hour away.”

    “Just go. Trust me.”

    Two hours later, Sally dragged a load of packing boxes through the front door. John stood in the middle of the living room grinning, surrounded by fully-loaded shiny black bags.

    “I told you, John, movers don’t move trash bags.”

    He winked and helped her with the boxes. “No, but they move boxes filled with trash bags.”