Monday, June 30, 2014

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict

In real live, we try to avoid conflicts, sometimes even at all costs. In writing, however, we welcome conflict, or rather, we love conflict. A scene without conflict of any sort inclines to run the risk of being boring, or at least uninteresting. Besides, conflict creates tension, reveals character, advances the plot and story, and many more. A question arises: Does conflict mean to have two/three characters argue vehemently about values? Not necessarily so. Here I'd like to quote my published haibun that shows conflict can be done subtly.

Ho's Conversation with Mao

In a dark place only they know where, Ho Chi Minh says to Mao Zedong: "Comrade, look at your capitalist country. How do you like it?"

"I hate it!"

Ho laughs. Mao frowns, "Hey, look at your Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Isn’t it soaked in capitalism?"

"My followers follow your footsteps."

"Not my footsteps!"

"You talked to President Nixon, didn’t you?"

"That’s history. Let’s return to change things back to what they were." Mao extends his hand to Ho who hesitates.

"You go first," Ho says. Mao stares at him.

ebb tide
empty shells
on the sand

(Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2013, Vol 8, No 4)

See what I mean? Conflict can be done in a subtle way. Since conflict is so important in story telling, I'll discuss more on conflict in my next post.

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