Tag Archives: heroes

Conflict: Where a Story Begins

Sometimes it seems as if most books and movies today are glorified comic books, epic battles between the good and the impossibly evil. Conflicts in which there are no shades of gray must be satisfying for many people, but I like a little more subtlety in my conflicts, a little more reality.

In a world that seems to be run by the major corporations, the stories where a lone hero takes on a megalithic corporation, brings down the owner of the company, and saves the world just are not plausible. Though I’m sure the presidents of the major corporations think they are indispensable, they are not. If they are eliminated, there will always be others to take their place, and the corporations will go on doing whatever it is that they do.

Because I know this and cannot escape it even in a world of my own creation, the conflicts in my books tend to be less clearly defined. Of course I have heroes and villains, but the villains are not always dastardly ones, though my other characters may perceive them as such. The villains are the heroes of their own story, and though a corporation is often the villains’ vehicle, my heroes don’t bring it down.

I like my heroes to find a romantic partner, a co-protagonist. It seems to dissipate the energy of the story if the two are always in conflict. I prefer it when they bond together in their struggle against fate (or an employee of a corporation as the personification of fate). To me, the biggest villain around is fate. What is more unfair, more murderous, more disastrous than fate?

My heroes never bring on their fate. Perhaps my books would be more dramatic if they did, but I cannot sympathize with characters who are the cause of their own problems. And why do they have to when life itself is always ready to cause problems for them?

When fate comes knocking on the door, everything changes. And that’s when a real story, not a comic book, begins.

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One,  and A Spark of Heavenly Fire now available from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

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Filed under books, fiction, life, Pat Bertram, writing