Yielding to someone else's goal

Sometimes we lose the contest and all we can do is yield to someone else's goal.

In this snippet, toddler Gerald wants to stay with his mother, but Mama has other plans and more power:

"Mama will be right back, baby," she told him. "I just have to go see Mr. Leroy for a minute. You stay right here and wait for me, you hear?" Gerald started to cry, but he didn't want Mama to lose her good mood, so he just nodded and bit his lip. The door closed and he could hear her high heels clicking on the steps. Then it was very, very quiet.

  • Mama tells Gerald her goal, which is to go see Mr. Leroy for a minute.
  • Gerald has no power and he wants to keep his Mama in a good mood, so he yields—he bites back his tears and listens to Mama leave.

"Sir, you cannot bring livestock onto the bus," she said to him. "It's a matter of passenger safety. You'll have to order a taxi or find a private driver to take you or get to a train. The trains: they don't care what anyone brings on board. I'm sorry." And with that the door hissed shut in his face and the bus took off, leaving Deshawn on the side of the empty road. He sighed and looked around. There was no sign of cars. The goose pushed its wings weakly against his arms. It started to rain.

"Monster, you can be lookout," Jarret said casually, not even asking her. He waved his finger over the horizon and pointed to a position on the opposite ridge. "How about that escarpment? Can you make it there fast enough?"

Monica rolled her eyes. He'd been too quick; he'd boxed her in. "I wanted to go into the fire," she said, but she felt bratty as she said it because it didn't change anything—she was already pulling out her pack out of the truck—it was just a pointless expression of her annoyance.

Imagine your character in opposition with someone else.

  • This time the other character has the upper hand, and they do what they want.
  • The primary character has to go along with it.
Write a variation in which your character can only yield to someone else's goal.

We've seen two situations in which two characters have opposing goals.

But conflict isn't always between characters—what happens when one character holds opposing goals, and their conflict is internal?