That escalated quickly

Arguments are fun to write, but need a little TLC. It’s easy to argue your my point of view but when writing it’s important to write with both sides in mind (or more if there are more opinions involved.) This daily prompt is similar to one on Sept 28th when I talked about disagree:  Make it blue.” –  “No. it stays green.” 

When I think argument, I don’t always think fight. Arguments are IMO a verbal banter of opposing opinions or desired results. Generally when I write an argument it’s either resolved or it is not and the subject will definitely come up again. Today I’m going to talk about the escalated argument. The one that does lead to a fight.

Arguing early in a story is tricky because the reader doesn’t know the characters yet and don’t have a loyalty to any particular side. I will use an early argument to establish personality, strengths or flaws in a character. An argument later in the story is fun because I can pull on emotions and the characters personalities in the conversation.

When I start an argument, I treat it like a mini story itself. It has these components.

Beginningthe opening to the argument, the discovery of the conflicting opinion/ideas Middleboth sides argue their points intelligently. This is not the time for the writer to prove a point.
End or Fight – Conclusion, either one side concedes or the subject is dropped and neither are satisfied. This is where a physical or emotional fight happens. This can lead to fantastic friction and drama.

Pen smirked at Cal as he came back from the bar, rejected and shrugging.
“She wasn’t interested.” Cal set his new drink down.
“Cal you just need to be more aggressive if you want to get laid. You’re too considerate of their feelings.”

“Pen, it’s not always about getting laid.” Cal set his drink down on the tall table he was leaning on.
“Suit yourself Convent Cal. I bet I can talk that little hot blonde into a restroom quickie.”
Cal lowered his tone. “Leave her alone. She’s not your type.”
Pen glanced at Cal’s clenched fists then sneered. “You don’t know her. What do you care if I bang a chick that turned you down?”
“Pick on someone more your speed. Her friend is amiable.”
“Amiable?” Pen laughed then leaned closer to Cal. “No I think I’ll take your blonde and show you how it’s done.”
Cal grabbed Pen’s arm. “Leave her alone.”
Pen jerked his arm free. “Or what? You’ll hit me? You’d risk our friendship over a useless piece of-”
“Leave her alone.” Cal warned lowering his chin. “She deserves better than your prowling, in fact no woman deserves how you treat them. You make me sick.”
Pen swung his fist barely clipping Cal’s chin. Cal’s counter punch connected with Pen’s jaw in a thick thud knocking him to the dirty sticky floor.
“Bastard.” Pen rubbed his jaw as he stood. He swung again at Cal and missed. His face went red from the laughter around him. “What’s your problem?”
“You treat women like trash Pen. You treat your friends like crap and I’ve had enough.”
“Fine have her, oh wait, you can’t because she snubbed your pathetic do-gooder ass. I’m outta here. Don’t call.” Pen staggered away and out of the bar, it was busy enough not too many people noticed the altercation.

That escalated quickly. If I have arguments they usually have a bigger purpose, I try to avoid controversy or topics that can alienate a reader unless I know that I can argue both sides and not start preaching my point of view.

My advice about Arguments.
Play around with them and use them to create tension or showcase your characters strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve written conflict and removed it if it throws off the story flow. Usually it helps.

-Sheryl

These posts are very related to arguments: 

“Make it blue.” “No. It stays green.”

Bam! Pow! Kaboom!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Argument
Controversy

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