I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Fight: Looking for the Real Reason Your Characters are Upset

It started out as a typical sunny, hot and humid day in East Texas. I parked my car close to the entrance of our local gym. It’s a typical gym. You know the kind. Windows line the front of the building, giving everyone a view of the great outdoors while they work the weights or run on the treadmills. Just as I was about to get out of the car, I got a call from my office relaying a message to me.

Unbelievable! I took a deep breath, kept my tone normal, hung up and called my husband. Maybe I should have prayed before I hit speed dial, but I didn’t.
I kept thinking, How could he do this to me? We'd talked about this issue and I had made my position clear based on the procedures laid out within our company. Why did my husband counteract my instructions? Why didn’t he listen to me?

Ah-ha! That was the real reason for the ensuing argument: My husband hadn’t listened.

At the last My Book Therapy (MBT) Deep Thinkers Retreat, author Susan May Warren recommended having your characters fight about one thing, but make the fight be about a deeper issue. I pondered her advice, but didn’t really grasp it until I experienced it. Boy, did I experience it.

To give you some background, my husband and I work together in the family business. We were arguing on the surface about a procedure within our company, but the core issue was much, much deeper.

Needless to say we resolved it with prayer (and umm, a cooling off period).

What issues are your characters really fighting about? Do they have deliver a double punch with a double meaning?

Alena Tauriainen
Proverbs 3:5&6

photo by vierdrie/stockxchng.com


  1. Oh, Alena! Great example of what Susie was talking about. Thanks for the reminder that we need to get below the surface of our characters.

    Glad everything worked out with you and your husband!

  2. In Lakeside Reunion, Lindsey gets upset about a quilt, but it's actually a much deeper issue. I used the quilt as a metaphor for her experience at the time.

    Great post, Alena. So glad you and your husband worked things out.

  3. Haha, favorite line from your post, Alena: Needless to say we resolved it with prayer (and umm, a cooling off period).

    In the opening scene of my new WIP (as it stands now, I'm still not satisfied with it) Miranda lashes out at a piece of wood (and her manager)...hehehe...but she's really hurting about a significant anniversary...

  4. Aleina, great post! I, too, am thankful for the reminder to make the "fights meaningful," about the deeper issues. You've given me some points to ponder as I get back into writing on my wip. Sorry you had to live out the fight, but I'm so glad you guys worked it out!

  5. Thanks for the great feedback. I'm thinking I need to add this scene into my wip...lol.

    Happy Writing!

  6. AT, great insights. So important to have layers in our writing. Great example! Glad you and hubby have made up!

  7. Great post. I never thought too much about deeper issues, but now I see that it is impotant. Thanks!

  8. Delores Topliff6/25/11, 8:20 AM

    Wow, you deliver great wisdom here simply but effectively. This is so important--much to think about. Thanks, Alena