Today’s Story a Day prompt is all about conflict.
Without conflict or friction in your story, nothing interesting will happen. Today we focus on making sure two opposing forces run into each other in your story.
Put your character in a mundane, everyday situation. Then introduce a strong element of conflict.
I decided to go with the story I’m currently plotting in my Kurztown series. In the other stories he’s showed up in, Erik’s the fun-loving steal-the-scene type. But, we see a different side of him here.
Erik swung the basket a little as he headed for the far aisle of the grocery store. He hadn’t made a list. Gabriel always got after him about that, but really, what was so wrong with the list in his head? He knew what they needed. For dinner tonight, since Lora would finally be home. Really, with the way Gabriel was acting, he would have thought the woman had been gone a month instead of just a weekend.
But, the two of them were so in love, it almost made Erik sick. Okay, that wasn’t the right word. Jealous, envious, green-eyed. Those all worked a lot better. And it was getting harder not to let it show. Not that he wasn’t happy for both of them. And it wasn’t even either of them he wanted. The night the three of them had spent together had been great, but it wasn’t really what he wanted.
He just wanted what they had. With someone who would look at him the way they looked at each other. But, that person would barely even look his way.
Maybe it was better that way. Erik was good at ruining things, but not so good at keeping them together.
He started to turn down the baking aisle. He already had everything he needed to make dinner for tonight. But, he wanted to add something extra special for Gabriel and Lora. He started adding ingredients to his basket as he thought through what he could make.
While he was here, he figured he could get the ingredients for that soup he wanted to try out before seeing if Anna would add it to the menu at the diner. But as soon as he came out of the aisle, he stopped. His right leg didn’t stop smoothly, though, the socket above where his knee would be wrenching slightly at the rough movement.
Erik’s heart thundered, but he knew it had nothing to do with the slight ache in his thigh now. He was almost used to the pain that came and went still.
And in a small town like this, he should be plenty used to seeing his father around town. And yet every time, he had to fight the panic that tried to descend on him. He took a step back, but knocked into the end cap, a few cans rattling on the shelf.
His father glanced over, and Erik felt the breath clogging in his lungs. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t… No. His therapist had walked him through enough attacks to know that wasn’t the case.
His father sneered at him and turned his way, but Erik turned on his good leg, making his way back through the aisle. He ignored the people who greeted him, forgot about the rest of the items on his mental list. He just had to get out of there. That was all that mattered right now. Getting out of here and home before his father could find one more way to try to mess with his life.