Pocket conflicts in WritingBy Janet
June 24, 2018
So, Pocket Conflicts are the kinds of conflicts which are tiny. They aren’t wars and they don’t lead to divorce or a firing. Instead, they are more about the speed of “who moved my cheese?”
Hence they are kind of trivial, yet they can add a lot of annoyance into anyone’s life. And they can add color and interest to your characters, too.
Because the sibling relationship is often fraught with conflict, it can be the perfect vehicle for these types of conflicts. And if you have ever seen two children in the back of a car arguing about who last touched whom (or if you have ever been either of those children), or who last sat in front, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
And sibling rivalry does not necessarily go away when the siblings have grown up. Old resentments can crop up even when going through a deceased parent’s things. And the ‘kids’ might even be in their sixties by then.
Pocket conflicts abound at work. And it’s not just cheese moving. What happens when a desk is moved? Or maybe someone was passed over for a promotion. Furthermore, colleagues can resent when a person has a different schedule if they don’t know why. If a parent has to drop their children off at daycare, and has permission to do so, then there’s every possibility that employee will, on occasion, be late. And that can create a conflict with that person’s coworkers if the boss doesn’t explain things properly.
Get your characters out of their comfort zones, but only a little bit. Because sometimes the small pebble in your shoe can hold your thoughts more than the metaphorical gunshot wound to your gut. And your characters should be no different, if you want them to seem real.