Even a simple change can add complications

Karalee’s Post #69

I’m away in Mexico for the next two weeks and my hubby brought it to my attention that it will be the first two weeks that we will be on our own without children for over twenty-four years. We both love travelling and have our itinerary quite full, but it is also a good thing that we both love to read which means we are never bored or in the need to “have to make conversation.”

This will also be the first time that I’m travelling with an armful of eBooks too, downloaded on the mini i-pad I got for Christmas. Yes, I’ve entered the new age, but not with complete trust. A friend I went on a trek to Nepal with a couple of years ago had all of her reading material on her Kindle that crashed and she had nothing to fall back on. There will definitely be a couple of real paper books in my suitcase just in case.

Of course this week I need to make sure that everything will be taken care of: the house, my two dogs, and my university-going son that still lives at home and needs to be fed (and help look after the house and dogs).

My organizing was falling into place to the point of having those dull bits that Silk referred to this week until I took my youngest dog to the vet to have a tooth pulled. A minor thing, a tiny front tooth that was crowded and already loose. Heck, I was thinking of saving a bundle and getting the pliers out and giving it a good yank myself.

Then the vet called and asked if I’d had other dental work done somewhere else since my dog had a broken back tooth and some missing teeth. I said ‘no’ and she recommended an Xray that revealed a tooth that hadn’t grown in and was becoming abscessed.

So instead of one tiny tooth that would have been easy peasy, my dog had three teeth pulled and a whole bunch of stitches, which complicates the follow-up home care.

Maybe it was the three teeth that made me think of the ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and how they needed to build a stronger house to keep out the hungry wolf. Sometimes it takes a slightly different look at life to make me understand that a simple change in one character’s situation effects what other characters do in a story, and that it doesn’t have to be high action shoot ’em up stuff to add tension and conflict and make a character suffer.







Now the difference between one and three teeth being pulled effects both my dog and myself. My dog’s routine is disrupted for ten days as she needs pain medication, a soft food diet, and no toys to play with or bite on. For her, no toys is real suffering!

For me there is added stress to ensure that my neighbor knows what to do for the first four days when my son is out of town at an ultimate Frisbee tournament in the US, that my son knows what to do when he comes home, and that my daughter is the go-to person if complications arise. Now I also need to buy medication and a different dog food and scout the house for the gazillion stuffed toys my dog loves to play with. Plus, there is the worry factor when I’m gone.

Of course, if this were a scenario in a book it would be the set-up for something more dramatic such as my dog becoming seriously ill, or the vet implanting something in my dog for a secret research project, etc, etc.

For me this is a reminder that to add conflict and make a character suffer, even a simple change can be effective and alter the course of action. I don’t always have to bring out the guns so-to-speak, and being more subtle can be more effective at the right times.

I will be back the first week in April.

Happy writing!









4 thoughts on “Even a simple change can add complications

  1. Have fun in Mexico Karalee. Bet it will feel really good to get to that lovely hot weather to warm your bones, even if the dog might be a bit of a background worry. If we were in town we’d housesit for you!

    • Thanks Alison and Don. Sailing friends of mine are following your blog too and are awed at how you two decided to uproot and travel the world and are actually doing it! My family traveled for two years on a sailboat in the Mediterranean and I was ready to get back to land! So glad you are having fun and have joy in your travels.

  2. Hope you’re having a relaxing and fun time in Mexico! Your points about small changes adding complexity are a great reminder.

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