Friday Excerpt: Characters in Conflict

My Friday excerpts started out when I joined Romantic Friday Writers and was given a theme to write about each week. Considering that it led to the beginnings of the story that is now becoming my novel, (Be)Longing, I think it was very valuable!

As I continue to work on that book, in the meantime I thought I’d get back to doing some exercises in order to spark future story ideas.

Today’s is from http://www.writingforward.com/category/writing_exercises/writing-exercises

The Exercise: Sketch two characters who are in conflict with each other.

Do not identify a protagonist or antagonist, just create two characters. Both characters should have the potential to be good or evil. Start with physical descriptions, then get inside the characters’ heads to establish their inner landscapes, and finally, work up a bit of backstory for each of them. Remember, these two characters have a fundamental conflict with each other. What is it? The core of this exercise is identifying that conflict.

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One:

I’m not crazy, okay? I know loads of other girls are just like me, but we’ve learned to keep it quiet. It’s a totally normal thing to be obsessed with weddings.

I know if my boyfriend found out about the wedding magazines and TV shows, he would freak. He just doesn’t get that it isn’t about him. I’ve been dreaming about weddings for, like, fifteen years now. Long before I met him.

Okay, maybe it’s a little bit about him. I mean, of course I do want to get married. I want the chance to create something beautiful just like these weddings I’ve been studying for so long. I’ll admit it. I want the other girls in my life to be envious of a beautiful ring on my finger, of gorgeous pictures where a photographer makes me look amazing while the boyfriend looks at me lovingly. Oh man, and the orgasm of getting to use the word “husband.”

So what if I have wedding magazines under my bed? It’s not hurting him, right?

I know you think I’m crazy for obsessing over weddings when I’m not even engaged, but it’s hard to have something you want be so out of your control. Anything else in my life, if I want it then I work to get it. Not this. And I’ve been waiting a long time, watching other girls get married, listening to my mom and her friends gossiping about sad, pathetic single girls and what they’re doing wrong.

I don’t think anyone will take me seriously or believe that I’m lovable until I’m married. Life feels like it’s just on hold, waiting until I can move forward after a wedding.

Two:

She thinks I don’t notice. She thinks she’s being so subtle.

It’s not that I don’t ever want to get married. Okay, maybe it is. I just don’t see the point.

We’re having a lot of fun together, we’re enjoying life. Why does that need to change? Why should we chain ourselves to each other just cause it’s good now? We never know what the future looks like.

In this day and age there’s no shame in living together and even having kids without dragging the law into it.

Anytime I try to say this, she doesn’t listen, though. I can see a glazed look in her eye every time the subject of weddings comes up. Which is a lot, unfortunately, as so many of our friends are getting engaged now.

She’s brilliant at spinning whatever she hears into what she thinks it should be. She’ll never believe that I don’t think marriage is a good idea for anyone.

I guess, knowing how badly she wants it, I should just break up with her. But like I said, we’re having a great time. We enjoy each other’s company, we love each other, we like to do the same things. I don’t want to leave her but I don’t want to marry her either. I feel like no matter how this ends, I lose.

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