I'm back from the family reunion. Four days of hanging out with extended family. I have no idea why the topic of conflict would be on my mind. =)
Really, I did have a good time at the reunion and it was great to see family that I haven't seen in years. But there was an element of conflict. There always is, isn't there?
Conflict is inescapable in real life. It surrounds us, like it or not. Our expectations collide with someone else's. The weather refuses to cooperate. People disagree with our opinions. Tragedy strikes. The list goes on and on.
I think most of us would like to minimize the amount of conflict in our lives. But when it comes to fiction, conflict is absolutely essential. Without conflict, there is no story. It is the tension created by the conflict that keeps the reader going. Time and again I have seen stories that have little conflict or in which the conflict is too easily resolved. Boring!
You can have all types of conflict in your fiction. Relationships, wars, illness, loss, pain, loneliness, oppression... The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you've got something there and that the characters have to struggle and sacrifice in some way to resolve it.
That is the heart of a great story.
So, I recommend you try and reduce the amount of conflict in your life. But when it comes to your story, ramp it up! Make those poor characters suffer. Your reader's will thank you.