Conflict is necessary when writing a story. Tension is the conflict’s little brother. While conflict might be more visible through a friend’s fight, a lover’s betrayal, or a tragic accident, it will keep the reader on edge from one scene to the next as they wonder how it will all come to an end.
If omitted, readers may decide to skip your novel entirely.
The principle of conflict is that it should rise and fall at uneven intervals. Escalation and resolution should occur so that conflict has motion. As a writer, you will want your characters to respond. For example, a woman leaving her husband can not happen without reason. Here, you begin to see how certain factors in story-building affect one another.
We have to consider the degree of conflict and how that will impact your characters.
Eventually, as writers, we try to make peace with the characters involved in the conflict. We try to think about their personality traits, their motivations, or their goals. We try to be in our characters’ shoes by considering what they will do. How would my characters respond, or does the conflict change them? The transition could be a bumpy one.
Similarly, when we conflict with others, we ought to learn to make a truce.
The above applies to our lives.
A conflict in our day-to-day lives helps us stay alert and, in some cases, grateful. If nothing ever went wrong in our lives, we would never have a chance to grow stronger. On the other hand, life, all rosy, would be so dull, aimless, and bland. A rise and fall at uneven intervals can keep us on guard and allow our intellect to make decisions when we are in a puddle. It’s also a test of our intelligence, which makes us different from any other living species.
Conflict is the vehicle for change in our society, our personal lives, and at work.
Martin Luther King, Jr., looked at conflict as a means of making positive social change. It is how we handle conflict that we need to consider.
According to the Thomas-Kilmann, Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), used by human resource (HR) professionals worldwide, there are five major styles of conflict management—collaborating, compromising, avoiding, competing, and accommodating.
While working in collaboration with another peer at work, an individual could create concerns and needs. Although partnership could generate creative solutions, foster respect, trust, and build relationships. But it can also lead to competition to create a win-win solution.
Collaboration is far more powerful than competition. Your body and brain work best when you’re joyful and peaceful, not when you are pushed to the wall.
People who work as compromisers are willing to sacrifice some of their goals while persuading others to give up theirs. They are ready to walk the extra mile to help maintain the relationship. Although the compromise is not necessarily intended to make all parties happy, to split the difference, game-playing can result in an outcome that is less creative and ideal.
People who use this conflict style deliberately ignore or withdraw from it rather than face it when in such a situation. However, they hope the problem will go away if they lay low by not taking responsibility or being involved. But then avoidance can be destructive if the opposite party perceives that you don’t care enough to engage. The result could be a loss for both parties since the argument could result in angry or hostile outbursts by not dealing with the conflict.
People who compete come across as aggressive, confrontational, and can be intimidating. Having a competitive style is mainly to gain power while pressuring a change. However, this style could help in making difficult decisions and can harm relationships beyond repair.
People who adopt this style of conflict usually keep aside their own needs because they want to keep the peace. Accommodators are cooperative and keep their egos at bay. They wouldn’t mind losing and allowing the other person to win.
How we respond to someone challenging our ideas or questioning our views is an essential aspect of our personality that we would be wise to recognize. At work or within the family, how we engage with others can make the difference between a positive and mutually beneficial relationship or one that is fraught with distrust and frustration.
We might consider this mode as our instinctive reaction to conflict. Knowing our mode can help assess whether we are the right person to engage in a row.
My two cents
By first gaining self-awareness, engagement with others can be more thoughtful and considerate, which is critical in improving one’s work situation and achieving professional objectives.
Different situations demand different conflict approaches as long as we continue to heal ourselves with any process.
So, what’s your style of conflict?
This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna
A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.
I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for five years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.
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