Characters, Sacrifice, and Conflict
I can't believe it's been twenty-one days since my last post! I guess I should start looking into getting more posts lined up in advance, but I prefer to write the post on the day it's due or the day before, so it's relevant to what's happening in my world. That means if something goes awry, the posts aren't happening. And, yes, something did go awry over the last three weeks.
I'm not going to get into the details, but I'm thankful for those who knew of the circumstances and offered up prayers and kind words and assistance. We often hear that we live in a world full of people bent on self-centeredness. I can vouch that those who care and help in times of need still exist, and my family benefitted greatly from them.
Which got me to thinking
Do the characters I write about help when others are in need? If they don't, then they won't be very likeable, will they?
Conflict in the story
One of the key elements to creating conflict in a story is to put your protagonist in a place where they need to do something outside of their comfort zone, yet circumstances force them to do it, anyway. It might be solving a mystery that will provide relief for the victim, their family, or the accused. It can be providing aid to people who need it or fighting for the safety of others.
In The Watchers of Moniah, many of my characters offer compassion and help to others. We first see it with Montee, quickly followed by Glume, Hunter, and of course Kassa. Each one of these characters steps up to guide and help Adana, the heir to the throne, in her time of loss and confusion. As Adana embarks on her journey, she discovers how to care for and appreciate people through the efforts of these people. Even Leera, the spoiled princess of Elwar, surprises her with kindness at a difficult time. Leera has a selfish reason, but in the end, the guidance opens up possibilities in her life that alter her character throughout the trilogy, too.
Many more examples from the trilogy are flooding into my mind as I type, but the point remains--Adana expands and begins to provide the same care toward others, giving back in so many ways, thanks to their examples. Ultimately, she finds herself on a massive battle field opposite the traitor her mother failed to execute twenty years earlier. If she succeeds, she will be giving back to the rulers and citizens of four kingdoms, not just hers. Not something she wanted to do, but something she must do. That's conflict. That's storytelling. That's what compassion or others does.
In the real world
Most of us don't have the fate of four kingdoms resting on our actions, but I'm guessing many of you have given or received much-needed aid throughout your life. This is what makes us compassionate humans.
So back to reading, if you're reading a book where someone doesn't sacrifice to help others, I'm guessing you're reading a boring or annoying book. Odds are, you won't finish it. What do you think?
Image courtesy of kahunaspix at freedigitalphotos.net