From what I can glean, every aspiring author is taught a certain number of ironclad precepts. Things like "Write what you know." In general, I have to assume that these people know what they're talking about, but there is one particular guideline that I think is perhaps worth questioning.

They tell me that every story, no matter how short or how long, needs an underlying order, which can be broken down to

  1. some sort of conflict
  2. some manner of resolution.
Now, this is all well and good. I see the wisdom behind it; it seems nigh impossible to capture a reader's attention without investing him or her somewhat in the story, and staging a conflict is the easiest (and best, probably) way to go about this. In general, people are adverse to conflict, and can not sleep happily until it has been resolved in some capacity.

However, I can't help but wonder whether it's possible to forge a tale which sidesteps conflict altogether. Clearly, if this is your goal, you're going to need to find some other type of hook with which to keep the reader occupied.

One such hook is if the reader is in it solely for informational content. Many biographies are not very suspenseful reading. Not everyone's life has an underlying conflict. Still, these books are read, because somebody wants to learn something about the person in question.

This is all right, but I'd rather keep the reader entertained. The only way I could come up with to do this without involving conflict is to paint a literary portrait which has inherent aesthetic beauty, a book which one would read not to find out what happens next, but just for the sake of hearing the words flow and visualizing the images depicted in the book.

Naturally, the only way I could decide for myself whether this would actually work is to try it for myself and see. And so, I wrote the beginning of a story without conflict.

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