Creativity Workshop – Survival Mode

Ok, so I have covered inner or personal conflict, and I have looked at relational conflict.  This week, I want to focus on Survival Conflict, which deals with the character  struggling with fatality.

How am I going to apply this to Medusa?  Well, I am at the point in my novel where she has been deserted on an uninhabited island, and she is all alone.  No one else there to help or assist her, and having led a sheltered life, she now has to survive.  If she doesn’t, she will die.  She is also facing more internal conflict because a part of her wants to die, but a part of her wants to live – so will be interesting to see how these will all work together.

Imagine that you have been put into a situation where you all of a sudden had to hunt and kill animals.  Would you be able to do it to survive, or would you just subsist on vegetation?  What about shelter, and clothing.  Will you have to make your own? Because your clothing will eventually become rags on you.  What about fire?  Do you know how to make fire without matches or a lighter?  Interesting things to be pondering.

Can anyone else suggest any other things that they would struggle with if they were deserted somewhere without any of lifes luxuries or conveniences?  What would you miss the most?

I will write this as part of my novel, because novels are a collection of short stories that all

work together to form a larger story.

Words for the week:

threnody \THREN-uh-dee\, noun:

A poem, speech, or song of lamentation, esp. for the dead; dirge; funeral song.

oleaginous \oh-lee-AJ-uh-nuhs\, adjective:

1. Having the nature or qualities of oil.
2. Containing oil.
3. Producing oil.
4. Unctuous; fawning; smarmy.

goad \GOHD\, verb:

1. To prick or drive with, or as if with, a goad; prod; incite.

1. A stick with a pointed or electrically charged end, for driving cattle, oxen, etc.; prod.
2. Anything that pricks or wounds like such a stick.
3. Something that encourages, urges, or drives; a stimulus.

swain \SWEYN\, noun:

1. A male admirer or lover.
2. A country lad.
3. A country gallant.

Manichean \man-i-KEE-uhn\, adjective:

1. Pertaining to a strongly dualistic worldview.
2. Of or pertaining to the Manicheans or their doctrines.

1. An adherent of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a combination of gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and various other elements, with a basic doctrine of a conflict between light and dark.

penumbra \pi-NUHM-bruh\, noun:

1. An area in which something exists to an uncertain degree.
2. Astronomy. The partial or imperfect shadow outside the complete shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the light from the source of illumination is only partly cut off.
3. The grayish marginal portion of a sunspot.

bathos \BEY-thos\, noun:

1. Triteness or triviality in style.
2. A ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
3. Insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.

Man, these words are getting just about impossible!  I could threnody about them for some time, commiserating until goaded into action with my writing about oleaginous gods with swain like temperament, but with a manichean personality, but that could bring a penumbra to my story which could bring about a bathos!

Yip, I’m gonna need all the luck I can get for this weeks words!


8 thoughts on “Creativity Workshop – Survival Mode

    • Survival isn’t something that I would have picked as a conflict, but it is, when talking about life or death, and the many choices that go along with that.

  1. I think many people would struggle with the isolation factor – no one to boost your morale, only yourself to converse with. I can’t remember what you said Medusa’s background was to this point, but it might add some more tension into the story?

    Good luck! Those words do indeed look like difficult ones to slot in easily.

    • It is the isolation and the abandonment that ultimately make her the monster she becomes – not because of magic, but because of the bitterness inside manifesting itself. It is going to be interesting to work through.

  2. Speaking of the devil, Cast Away was just on one of those HBO channels. I think the most interesting aspect of surviving is the psychological part. You say Medusa is all alone, so how does she cope with interaction? You also say that part of her wants to die while the other part wants to live, but is there ever a time when the part that wants to live gives up hope? Hope these thoughts helped.

    • Medusa is used to having people around. She came from a large family (in my story anyway), lives in a hostel type of atmosphere with other priestesses, then to find herself all alone! That is what will get her. Thank you for the interesting points to ponder.

  3. Karen, those vocab words are amazing! I think I want one of those calendars next year; it’s like reading the dictionary. 😉

    I agree with Kyle, that the toughest part for me would be psychological: the lack of people to commune with, and the lack of entertainment. Plus, since she has to watch out for herself, if there are any dangers like poisonous snakes, predators, etc., she’s got to be constantly on alert and can’t really relax, as there’s no one else to watch over her. I think that would be tough.

    I suspect that in such a situation I would find my communion with nature getting even more pervasive than it is now. I picture a woman alone for a long time in such a situation becoming a wild, unfettered, nature-goddess-type being.

    • The words are emailed to me daily from, I really enjoy it – some make me shudder, but others are like – Wow, didn’t know it meant that too!

      Thanks for your ideas about being on your own. In mythology Medusa is a kind of goddess, but she is mortal. I am enjoying exploring her reaction to the world around her through her eyes and emotions.

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