Heavy damage

At the beginning of this lesson, we looked at a snippet from The Third Day, the Frost. 

That snippet described the ambush of an enemy soldier, which was one confrontation in a larger conflict with an invading army.

Here is a (relatively non-spoilery) snippet from the end of that story:

Meanwhile, our parents and families are still prisoners and we can't do a thing to help them. We just have to wait.

And so we sit around, lie around, or hobble around, in my case. Nothing happens here, nothing at all. We've been living on adrenalin for so long that it's strange when it's suddenly cut off. Other people are doing the fighting now. They're making some progress, too. Colonel Finley thinks the peace talks are getting pretty serious: the more territory the Kiwis recapture the more serious the peace talks get. Maybe one day I'll be able to think about the future again. At the moment all I think about is the past.

The ending is ambiguous.

The narrator's friends and family are still prisoners, the narrator can't do anything to help them right now.

Meanwhile other forces continue the battle. 

It's not exactly an impasse, because the enemy is being pushed back, but the conflict is far from over, and we sense the progress to date has come at great cost.

This lack of resolution makes us think that there is more to the story, although we may not be told it now.

Here are some worked examples that resolve the conflicts we've been developing throughout this lesson in a kind of heavy-cost draw between the opposing forces:

The tunnel and bridge were blocked. The island was isolated. And still there were a million dead roaming the streets.

That was the thing with zombies: they didn't have jobs or watch TV, so they had no reason to stay inside. Instead, they wandered around the neighbourhood 24/7 looking for food. And in the end, there was nothing Cindy and Vincent could do about it. They burned as many as they could, but when Vincent did some painstaking long-division on paper (which Cindy checked and double-checked) they realised it would take 14 years to get rid of them all, so finally they gave up and decided they'd make peace.

They carved out a compound around the fire station and the giant park next door, started a farm, got on with their lives, and left the rest of the island to the dead. And strangely, Vincent found himself hoping every night that Amos and Expert, Mama and Baba, and maybe even the crazy cannibal from Harbour City, were wandering somewhere out there with them, not alive, but at least not totally gone.

So here I am. New city, who dis. Feeling like I have nothing, and I am nothing.

I moved off campus to get away from Charlie. (Breakups are the worst. I even took up running.) Dad won't answer the phone or respond to my texts. And every day I wonder what the hell I've done, and how I got it all so wrong.

You think if you could be alone, you'd have so much freedom, but it turns out you have the opposite: you have isolation. And that's as good as jail. Your freedom in life is defined exactly by who you know—your friends, family, co-workers. That's all. And here's me with no-one, which means I need to make a choice to either go back—not to Charlie, but maybe to Dad and home—or to go forward into the unknown and make new friends and build a new freedom with my own two hands.

I've come this far. I guess I'll go a little further.

  • Think of the story world you've been developing in this lesson, and the multiple opposing forces and possible lines of conflict.
  • Choose one or several that best suit a 'win/lose/draw' type resolution.
  • Imagine how the conflict might resolve at a high cost to both sides.
  • Possibly, nobody has really 'won' as such, they've just found a new equilibrium.
Describe a conflict that has resolved with heavy damage on both sides, and either a clear winner or an uneasy draw.

Not all conflicts are resolved through victory and defeat.

Let's take a look at a resolution based on growth, learning, maturity, and adaptation (even compromise and forgiveness).