Listening, if characters did it there would be no conflict

listening, listen, hear, communicateLack of listening skills is a great thing in story conflict, but it’s not the way to get things done. When people only wait for their turn to speak, no communication happens.

What happens when no one is listening?

In fiction this can create a great story. Two people who seem to be communicating are talking at cross purposes. Both of them think they have agreed that the sun is hot, each of them thinking that they agreed something else. Hijinx ensue.

When it happens in life, it creates major problems because hijinx do not make for good relationships, or for effective work. Like most things, what works for fiction doesn’t come close to working for life.

Waiting for your turn to talk

Another thing that can work well in fiction. This is when each person has their position and then just waits to explain it. In fiction this this when the interfering mother, father, sister, brother, whoever keeps pushing their agenda despite the evidence that they aren’t going to get their way.

Fiction is no excuse for real life

In a post earlier this week, I talked about how real life isn’t an excuse for poor story telling. The reverse is true, with much bigger consequences. When you find yourself reading a book that drags because it is too factual and not entertaining, you can stop reading and the problem is done.

When it happens in real life, you can spend hours, or days, finding out what the real issue is. By the time someone realizes what’s happening, relationships end and wars start – oops that might be the fiction writer in me.

What’s the deal?

When you find yourself having the same argument over the oddest things, you might be dealing with someone who isn’t listening, just waiting their turn to talk.