February 19, 2013

Writing About: Family Conflict

When you’re writing any sort of family conflict, the best advice I can give you is to draw from your own life. I’m sure you’ve witnessed conflicts within your own family, and perhaps have been a part of some these dramas. Every family I know, and I am sure every family in the world, has conflict within its DNA strand. It’s normal! And it also makes for great writing material!

Flannery O’Connor once said, “Anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life.”

This is a DNA strand key chain I made when I was thirteen.
Photo by Chrys Fey

You don’t necessarily have to use the exact same conflict that you experienced within your family, but you can use certain details: insults that were flung around, a smashed blender that was thrown, or how you felt during those intense moments.

Another piece of advice that may help you to write family conflict is to imagine you are in the midst of family drama. What do you think would happen? What do you think would be said?

You can also picture someone that you despise (this person doesn’t even have to be a family member), and imagine what you would do or say to that person if you had the chance to be face-to-face with them. This strategy has greatly helped me in my writing to create perfect confrontations, fights, and arguments.  And it is very therapeutic too! I highly recommend this technique, especially if you have pent-up resentment towards someone.

Overall, make the family conflict realistic. If you do, your readers will believe it and hopefully identify with it too.

SHARE: Your tips to writing family conflict in your work.

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