Conflict in Books

I hear often enough that without conflict, there is no story. That a story without conflict is just a boring series of events. But when I read, I prefer either a short conflict, something that I’ll read the resolution to before I have to set the book aside to go back to life, or light conflict, that you know the character can make it through. I’m guessing this puts me in the minority.

But here’s the thing — reading is my escape. There’s plenty of conflict in movies, the news, and my own life to last me ten lifetimes. To escape from that, I want something different. Let me say, I’m specifically referring to fiction here. Obviously, I don’t expect non-fiction to lack conflict or to be anything other than truth.

I appreciate a book where it’s obvious from page one that there will be a happy ending. It means I can just lose myself in a stable, happy story. I can also work with a story with conflict that gives you frequent highs to get you through the lows.

But when the main character, or any character you can become emotionally invested in, is hit by problem after problem, it’s depressing. Where is the escape in that? What’s the point in a book that makes you feel worse by the time you finish it than you did when you started it?

What’re your thoughts on conflict in books? Like it? Love it? Let me know.

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