Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Plan for Conflict, Part 3

Continued from Now That You've Got a Plan, Part 2

Let’s just say, it’s the morning of and I can’t wait to start building the haunted house. The invitations went out the week before and even if no one comes outside of our cul-de-sac and the “straight street”, we’ll still have a turnout of more than thirty kids and over twenty adults. Basing it on last year’s turnout of more than 100 people with more than 50 of those being children, we have planned for approximately 200 guests.

Luckily, the skies are blue and the wind is calm with minimal heat. The frame is up, the butcher paper walls stapled & secured, the roof tarp in place, the painting was fun and the decorations all placed and in working order.

The next day, the final touches are placed and I was even able to feed my family a stress-free dinner before we put the kids’ costumes on. I had no problem with the elaborate makeup my costume required and when we turned on all the electronics, they all worked. The food and drink were set up and everyone waited for the first guest to arrive.

Just like imagined, all guests arrived and waited their turn in line to enter the haunted house, no questions asked. It’s worth the wait though, because we take pictures of each family at the scariest spot and then give them a card on the way out telling them where at Snapfish they can view or purchase their pics. Everyone is happy.

The next day, the haunted house comes down quickly and the frame gets stored for next year.

It’s just that easy. . .or, is it?

I don't know about you but when I first come up with an idea it always plays out like this in my mind.  But then reality sets in and when it does, it brings conflict with it.

So, with your NaNo story, you have kind of an idea of where you are starting and where you are finishing, but have you planned on any conflict?

Sure, you can’t possibly plan on all the conflict. With the haunted house I feel prepared for whatever may occur based on previous year’s experiences but there is no possible way I will be able to plan for everything. That’s okay, that’s precisely what makes the process of putting on an event of this magnitude interesting. It will also be precisely what makes the process of writing your NaNo book that much more fun to do.

What can I plan on then?

Day Before:
  • Potentially having to start putting up the frame without any one but my husband, my sister, and my mom (this will become frustrating to my husband who will wish for some strong arms).
  • Broken electronic decorations, (I can fill in with homemade dummies with masks).
  • Having to decorate rooms previously dibbed by volunteers (I’ve got plenty of décor and can make it work).
  • The flu. (I could get sick right before, or the kids could, and there are enough volunteers to make it work anyway).
  • The weather. (It could rain, and then we would find ourselves running out to buy more tarps to cover the paper exterior. The wind could blow too hard and start tearing the paper walls. But we could create a wind block of sorts and have extra tape and staples handy.)
  • Power Struggles. (We can’t always get along. We’re neighbors and just like family, we can’t pick’em. Must deal and forge ahead.)
Day of:
  • Electronics not working (make do)
  • Running late to get ready in full costume (it will be dark, it’s okay)
  • Injuries (We keep first aid handy and pray to god no one really gets terribly hurt running around.)
  • Fire (we don’t use open flames and keep a fire extinguisher at the entry and exit)
  • Camera doesn’t work (then no one gets their pics this year, that’s okay)
  • Scared kids: (That’s what we’re here for but for some reason some of the parents don’t get that. We just laugh it off and ignore it at best.)
  • Weather, weather, weather.
Day after:
  • Broken items that were donated (that’s why we specify donate at your own risk)
  • Hard feelings (Maybe someone said or did something to tick someone off over the last two days. We eventually get over it. We’re neighbors and have to grin and bear it for the kids.)
  • Damage the trailer with the wood (we use our toy hauler to transport the frames to and from storage. We could damage a cupboard or tear a curtain in the process but we will eventually get over it. Planning on this makes us more cautious.)

Stay tuned tomorrow for how a conflict filled haunted house turns out, (What To Do With The Conflict I Planned On, Part 4)


  1. I love it. When you put it on paper, so to speak, it all seems like it works out regardless of the conflict. In the moment, it never feels that way, but when it's all said and done it's like child birth. You forget the pain as soon as it's over. I would have to imagine our NaNo books are going to feel much the same. Can't wait for tomorrow's installment!

  2. Hey Patricia, thank you crusader for popping in and following me. Looking forward to working with you!

    I left you a lengthy reply on my blog but in case you don't go back, I'd love to buddy up with you on NaNo. Just click the badge at the top of my sidebar and add me as a buddy then I will be able to add you. I'd do it first but I don't have you NaNo name - I'm parisden.

    Also, Dawn Embers, a great blogger, has a NaNo prep page happening. I've been trying to keep up and it is very helpful for planning. Her link is:


  3. Very brave of you. If we wanted everything to be stress free, we'd never do anything but hibernate. Thanks so much for joining me, good luck with Nano! :0)

  4. I've been reading of your haunted house and I love it. I wish I lived in your neighborhood! AND I really appreciate this approach t tension in your writing. You are gonna be so ready!

  5. Thank you all for commenting.

    It's hard work and I've considered not doing it year after year, but the kids all ask for it and love helping. My daughter even did a report on it for her Traditions project. Once I realized it has become a tradition, it was too hard to walk away regardless of how hard it is to do each year.

  6. So true that it all seems to work out perfectly in our heads but then reality gets in the way.

    I think you said it best. The best way to deal with this is to just be aware that there may and probably will be conflict. There's no way to prepare for everything, but if we're aware that there will be conflict, we won't fall apart and be entirely unable to deal with it when it surfaces.

    I appologize for any spellung errors. I'm typing this on my phone on a crowdwd subway. Day two of waking up ridiculously early to go to the immigration office.