Right now I should be in Massachusetts. I should be having fun with my group of girl friends. Right now I am home enjoying time with my family instead.
This spring break was gonna be my first time actually going on a trip with my friends, but it got cancelled due to growing concerns with the coronavirus. Let’s go back to last week when spring break was approaching. It was a stressful time.
Last week, I knew I had to stay flexible with my friends’ spring break plans. We had this fun trip planned since last semester, but no one expected this virus to start spreading so fast in the US. I felt uneasy and I hated saying to my friends that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go.
“It’s nothing to fear. It’s just like a bad cold. Go on your trip and have fun!” These are a few things I heard from other people after voicing my concerns. Even my own thoughts betrayed me. “You’re being too paranoid. Your friends would be so upset at you.”
But the number of virus cases continued to grow, especially in Mass where we’d be heading on Friday. My concern wasn’t about getting sick. I knew I had a high survival rate since I am young and healthy. But I didn’t want to bring this back to my family or to vulnerable people back at the college.
Speaking of college, nothing was being said by any leader. Even the professors were in the dark when I asked if there were any plans about moving online. This was when other colleges around us already announced an extended break as well as moving online.
Pressure came at me from my family and friends and I had to make a decision soon. Either go home or go on a fun trip. Either stay safe or risk getting sick and passing it on to someone else.
This pressure kept building through the week and it was more stressful than my schoolwork. I hate conflict and I hate upsetting people.
I ended up making the decision to go home. I was upset that this whole virus problem ruined the original plan, but no one foresaw it happening. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy being with my family, but this would’ve been my first spring break trip. So how does this connect to writing?
Writing Conflicting Values
At one point during my internal conflict, I actually thought about how I could use this for writing. Yeah, weird, but it lifted my mood a bit, haha! #justwriterthings
Writing values for your characters that eventually conflict can create wonderful tension in your story, especially if the values are both good.
I realized that my values of family and friendship were conflicting. I wanted to go with my friends and have an exciting and fun time with them, buuuut I also wanted to be safe with my family through this spreading virus. And I felt this responsibility to both values.
These conflicting values spread to other parts of my life. I love planning and knowing what I will be doing throughout the week. I had no plan in place because it depended on what I chose to do. Although I can be indecisive, for important things I like to have a firm decision made quickly. Spring break was important and I could not make a decision.
My internal conflict affected these other parts of my life and made me anxious. It was harder to focus on schoolwork. I wish I would’ve written down everything I felt during this time so I could have exact details, but I did not feel like writing then!
Writing conflicting values for characters should involve every part of the character. These values make up that character; when conflicts between values arise, it should affect how the whole character functions.
Maybe this character is louder to make up for his stress. Maybe he can’t be around people during his struggles. Maybe he’s lazier as he walks through the conflict.
My internal conflict was all I could think about that week and it affected my mood and anxiety. Thankfully I still remembered to do my schoolwork!
It may not seem that bad to someone else, but it depends on that character’s personality. I hope this helped a little bit! Have fun torturing your characters through their conflicting values!