For a most excellent post on writing motley crews, please check out my brain-twin’s blog post: How to Write A Motley Crew. As for me, I’ve been struggling with the very issue of harmony with the crew in my current novel (Book #2 of Bill, for those of you paying attention). I have a crew, and they are motley, and the formula is very simple. Peoples A, C, and B get together (ACB) they fail at their common goal due to individual differences, they regroup into a better order (ABC) and attack with a united purpose and renewed team spirit: success! It’s at this point that you usually see the slow-motion hero-walk where the team looks awesome and something important explodes in the background.
My current issue is writing disharmony amid the ACB stage. I love all these people. My protagonist is easy-going, her brother has been getting on with her for years, and their best friend/girlfriend (respectively) is lovely, if a little high-strung. Two out of the three are masters at diffusing difficult situations. It’s like a superpower.
How am I supposed to write conflict when two out of three would rather walk away or cave?
Well, that’s where the simple formula starts getting more complicated. It’s also where the writing has to start coming in with imagery and metaphor to get the conflict across to the reader. I’m using the word ‘harmony’ to describe the desired state as often as I can without being repetitive.
So far, I’ve come up with two solid strategies to get my non-conflict persons into a discordant state of strife: 1. Make it about principle. Even nonconfrontational people will hold their ground when their ideals are at stake. 2. Make it a matter of self-sacrifice. So instead of confronting their feelings and being honest (which would likely lead to an argument), my people would rather fall on their own swords – a messy affair in which martyrdom gets on everything and doesn’t come out with the most resilient stain removers.
Any advice out there for getting saints into sticky situations with their squad? How about a favorite motley crew? Whichever you have, comment below and let me know. If you want to hear more about my writing projects, art endeavors, or travel adventures, subscribe and come along for the ride.