Some ordinary things seem so benign. For example, a trip through a raspberry patch in September. My family absolutely loves to hit the orchards and pick-your-own berry patches. A few years back something happened that makes me ever vigilent when I go to the raspberry patch with my kids.
The picture above is a banded garden spider we saw at the raspberry patch five years ago. The hand is my husbands. I love orchards, but
I HATE SPIDERS!!!!!!!!
In fact, I hate spiders so much that my boys come running with shoes to help me when I see them. Tiny or big, either way I am ready to climb a chair, the wall, the window treatments just to get away from them.
This is a bit of unexpected conflict in our day. It simply comes from something I hate, making an ordinary trip to the orchard a bit extraordinary.
I must admit that I wasn’t all that thrilled to see that spider at my favorite orchard. For the longest time I picked on the outside row so I could always see what was coming into contact with my skin. Anyone watching me probably thinks I’m a bit neurotic. All I have to say is, “WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SPIDERS HERE!”
How can we use this experience to find unexpected conflict in our novels? Let’s take a peak at this clip to get some ideas.
Did you notice in this clip that something unexpected about Elliot’s character adds a dose of conflict? He hates baseball. Now Hardison is less than impressed with him. It could add a bit of a rift in their relationship if he follows it very far, especially if Elliot didn’t appreciate the 13 hours Hardison spent creating the TV add.
A few different types of conflict can also cause problems because Elliot doesn’t like baseball. He is trying to pretend to be a baseball player so they can get the inside scoop on a job. It makes it much harder to convince people if you don’t even like the sport.
Think of your story. How could you add character likes, dislikes, and fears to create unexpected conflict? Even in an ordinary place, conflict can be lurking if you find a way to connect your character to an unexpected result.