Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are You Conflicted About Conflict In Your Blog Posts?

So I've been working with the fabulous Rita Crayon Huang, my friend and co-coordinator of the SCBWI Westside Writers Schmooze, on preparing this week's discussion on conflict and villains in writing for children and teens.

And not coincidentally, I spoke with my kid about the fairy tales she's studying in school, and we talked about how a story isn't much of a story unless there's a problem to overcome.

If the main character wants an ice cream, and goes and gets an ice cream, and it's delicious - well, that's a lovely afternoon, but it's not much of a story.

So in stories, we have challenges, and adversity, and obstacles our characters have to overcome to reach (and sometimes fail in reaching) their goal.

I've been thinking about how (and if) that applies to blogging. Should we blog as if there's no conflict regarding our subjects? Is it best to be all black or all white when talking about something we're passionate about?

Or can we be open to the greater shades of gray - can we recognize that there are pluses and minuses to everything, and use our blogs to engage our readers in a conversation?

I'm going to argue for the conversation. Standing up and doing a stump speech has it's moments, but there are times when an issue is murky, and yet you can have passionate feelings about parts of it.

A great example is the post I did over at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" about the gay character Kurt in the hit TV show "Glee" playing at times into the stereotypes of a Gay Teen.

Even the title of the post, Why the Gay Teen on "Glee" Drives Me Nuts... And makes me want to sing at the same time showed my conflict, and yet - it is among the top 10 most commented upon posts ever on that blog. It engaged my readers in a dialog that they weren't finding anywhere else...

And because I was honest enough to share the complexities of how I saw it, I invited their participation.

As one commenter put it,

Can I just say that I love every single comment here? I've been dying for some real conversation about this show, but most people seem to come down as either totally hating it or totally loving it - I love that all of us here really like the show but understand it can have problematic elements :-D

And that kind of participation on your blog is exciting.

So don't be conflicted about including conflict in your posts.

After all, ice cream is more delicious if you've had to earn it.

Namaste, and Keep it Zen,

1 comment:

  1. Nicely put! I'm definitely conflict-avoidant, but I guess I'll have to take a few risks now and then. :)