Conflicts Are Stories

By Mthobisi Buthelezi. Mthobisi, from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, currently works as an author and writes on the role of conflict in stories based on Veronica Roth's quote. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Growing up, I always wondered why people would talk about negative news more than the positive. This had been one of the questions that was always a thorn to my intelligence and one that I never got an answer to until it slapped me in the face in 12th grade. The truth is, there are so many mediocre people in this world and when you go just a little bit against what they are normally used to, you become the talk of the town. And in this day and age, many aspiring artists have been quick to understand this and use it to their advantage by angering the purists so that they would get talked about more. And can you blame them? So many people are following the “normal” route just so that they can get the acceptance of the so called “OG’s”. They are scared of being different and critiqued so they resort to what is expected of them and thus enjoy little success in whatever they do. And then the only response they get from people is a simple “Congrats” or “Great”, afterwards being tossed aside for the people who don’t follow the norms and instead try to rewrite them. Nobody gets more publicity than a person who goes against norms.

Even in a novel, the reader wants to be taken on a rollercoaster journey where their favourite character goes through life changing challenges but still persevere. These types of hardships get the reader emotionally attached to the character, or the book itself. And as much they might not realise, the antagonist or any type of distraction is just as important as the protagonist because those are the things that decide how long it takes for the protagonist to reach their goal and how good the story will be. Just imagine if the protagonist had to go and rescue their family from the kidnappers and they just go and do that without anything that stops them. That’s boring because all of the challenges that the protagonist is supposed to go through should be a reminder to the reader of a time in their lives where they had to sacrifice something to get another. And this also reminds the reader that life is not easy and they have to stay strong if they want to go far in this life, which bridges the gap between fiction and reality. Now as an artist or creator, your goal is to give people something they don’t know they need and then they will thank you later when you are gone. This is because a human being’s mind may under appreciate something great and only appreciate it when it’s no longer there. And this has been the reason of many break ups in recent years, where people are just scared of conflicts.

But a real couple will tell you that they are not always smiling at each other and that it takes work to make their relationship work. This is because they are not hooked up on the fairytale that after getting married, they will just walk into the sunset and live happily ever after. Real couples won’t agree in everything so this will lead to fights. But that is understandable because all the emotions we have were meant to be used freely and if people really love each other, then they will eventually forgive each other and learn from that. The winds and storms that come along the way are just a test of how much you still love each other and will make the story even sweeter.

Just imagine celebrating and saying that you’ve made it when the journey wasn’t challenging! That would be stupid. You have to go through dark times, times that will separate the real and fake love so that when you finally find the light, you will be able to reflect on everything has ever happened to you. And when you tell the story, most people will be moved by how far you’ve come, which is the whole point of a story: to take you from a place and deliver you somewhere else.

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