Well, it's good to know that I'm not the only one...
Like my fellow Scribble Chicks, I'm also not a big fan of confrontation. In fact, I'll do just about anything it takes not to ruffle any of those proverbial feathers. Well, unless it's with my characters, of course, then it's GAME ON!
Sydney Alexander, the leading lady of my last two novels, is quite a drama queen to say the least (albeit a well-intentioned one). So I have to admit that it's pretty fun writing those truly cringe-worthy moments that would absolutely terrify me because, well, it's not happening to me.
However, because Sydney is my protagonist, and I sooo wanted her to be likeable, I did find myself very protective of her from time to time. Sometimes I found myself actually scaling back on the conflict because I didn't want her to look bad, which I know is a bit crazy considering she isn't even a real person, but there you go.
In defense of my sanity, I'll say that when you're writing these characters, they are very real to you (after all, you're probably spending more time with them than actual living, breathing people when you're smack dab in the middle of a novel deadline)—and it's important to be true to who they really are. Yes, even warts and all.
And like the other ladies mentioned earlier this week, there is an art to this. All the drama that you stir up must ring true to the nature of that particular character and the integrity of the story. Basically, you can't have someone start acting all crazy with a proper precedent set in the first place...
So when you're dreaming up ways to trip up your characters, it's important to consider if what's happening (not to mention how he/she responds) feels authentic. Anything less will feel phony and will have your readers scratching their heads (or worse, deciding to opt out before your perfectly crafted ending).
While character development is an absolute must in novels, it's conflict that ultimately keeps the story steadily moving along. Without it, there's nothing at stake, meaning no one cares. But too much of it can also leave the reader feeling like he/she is actively part of a three-ring circus, so this is where the input of your editor/trusted friends/writing group will be crucial to the success of your story.