Conflict Quotes

Not all these quotes are from writers. But they get the idea across. And, if you’re interested, there’s some further learning.

 

William Faulkner at the Nobel banquet in 1950

There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

James Frey

The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict, conflict.

Margaret Heffernan

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Patrick Lencioni

I don’t think anyone ever gets completely used to conflict. If it’s not a little uncomfortable, then it’s not real.

 

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Three Thing Thursday

  1. For one hour, list everything that could happen in your novel. Each event must create conflict.
  2.  Write the main conflict of your story in three different ways.
  3. Is your main conflict worth the read? The months it takes to write the book? Why?

 

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Mark Your Calendar!

It’s just less than one year until Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers 2019.

Next year is our twentieth year and we are tentatively scheduled for the second full week of June. That’s right. June 10-June 14, 2019. And you can expect this will be a week of learning, celebration and fun stuff. Plus more learning.

As well, several of us have decided to write daily for the next year, so we have new work (or revised work) when the conference rolls around. The rules is this–you must write at least 6 days a week. One paragraph, one page, 100 pages. Just write.

If you want to join us, sign up on Facebook.

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Exercises in Conflict

13 Questions/Thoughts/Exercises to Help the Conflict in your Novel

  1. What IS the conflict in your novel?
  2. What does your main character want?
  3. What five ways do you keep your character from getting what he wants?
  4. Do you start the story in the right place? Is it the day something new happens? Is a conflict hinted at on page one? Is the major conflict revealed as the main character moves forward into the beginning of the middle of the novel?
  5. What is the part of your story that creates the most tension? Why?
  6. Write your main plot as a yes or no question. In film, this is the major dramatic question (MDQ).
  7. What is the definition of “inciting incident?” Joseph Campbell says it’s a call to action for the main character. What does this mean?
  8. What is the inciting incident, or that first point of no return, for your main character?
  9. Write the inciting incident from several (at least three) points of view. How does each character view this event? Is your main character the most interesting?
  10. Remember these? What is your book and why?
    1. Man against man
    2. Man against society
    3. Man against self
    4. Man again nature
    5. Man against technology
  11. Make sure you have only ONE main plot or you will wrestle trying to control and write plots of equal weight. While you should have subplots, none should be more important than that problem you reveal in the MDQ.
  12. I think some of the best conflicts result from relationships. What are you finding in your book?
  13. Our good friend Richard Peck said, “You are no better than your first line.” And that’s the truth with everything. Make sure each thing you write, is your best. Always.

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Conflict? Say What?

So I did something I never do. I spoke to an editor at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. Kelsy Thompson is an editor for Jolly Fish and Flux. Both houses were recently acquired by North Star Editions (https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/72423-north-star-editions-shining-a-light-on-ya-and-mg-fiction.html).

I was scared as it was as I walked in to talk to her. And Kelsey is super kind. Still I didn’t have my printed pages (broke rule number one–be prepared) and as I rambled at her (broke rule number two–be able to sell your work in 25 words or less),  I realized I had no idea what my newest novel was about (broke rule number three–know what you’re story is about in the first place).

After stammering at her for awhile, Kelsy said, “This book idea sounds so cute, Carol. But what’s the conflict?”

Conflict?

I looked at her for about 18 years. Then I jumped up and ran out of the room. I scared three people who were in line to see this terrific editor. This is not my fault.

So what is conflict?  We know our characters have goals–things they want. Our job as writers is to keep our characters from getting what they want. That series of events of hindering and stopping our characters from achieving their goals is where the conflict is.

Here’s some math to make things more confusing:  cute girl character + what she wants, what she really, really wants + stumbling blocks you throw in the way to torture your character = conflict.

I can do that. Can I do that?

Let’s meet here tomorrow and see.

 

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Are We Done Here?

The girls and I haven’t written in a long time. And there has been no comments when we have written. The only two people who regularly responded here have passed away.

But

I can’t seem to quite give up on our little blog that no one reads.

There is so much good stuff in the back pages.

From this point on I’ll write as though this is a writing journal. If someone reads, cool. If not, well, no big deal.

So here goes.

After years of nurturing a little orange tree grown from a 6-inch twig, I HAVE orange blossoms. The lemon has yielded fruit and the lime tree has 6 or 7 limes. But the orange trees (I have three of them) have been so slow-growing.

And now this!

The blossoms are beautiful, with a stripe of pink on the fragile petals. And in Florida, back in the day, you could drive past huge groves, all in blossom, and the smell was out of this world.

I had a friend who couldn’t smell at all (I think it was because of abuse). One day when she was stoned, she rode on the back of a motorcycle down a dirt road in town. She was hit by . . . what? What was happening? Wave after wave of a taste in the air. As the two made a turn she saw the groves, acres of orange trees, all in bloom. She realized then she was experiencing her first (and last) smell ever.

I love that.

Those kinds of descriptions, those kinds of incidents, help readers know where they are, physically in your novel.

What smell do you remember? What something changed the way you look orange trees or pizzas or fresh almonds?

 

 

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Cover and Contest!

My newest novel, NEVER THAT FAR, is published and released TODAY by Shadow Mountain.  a huge thank you to Jennifer De Chiara and Steve Fraser who represented me for this deal. And a big thank you to the amazing Lisa Mangum, my editor at Shadow Mountain.

A normal person could post a pic. I cannot. But, dagnabit, I will by end of today. So until then, imagine a pretty cover

 

 

HERE

 

 

Now! Here’s the contest! If you go to FB, you can add your goals under this post there.

I’m getting ready for a sing off! And I’m challenging Trent Reedy. And Claudia Mills, too! Yes! Where? At WIFYR this June!

We’re getting the ball rolling a little early with Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest where you might win a book or two. My newest novel NEVER THAT FAR is one of the prizes. So is Trent Reedy’s book DIVIDED WE FALL.

Here’s how it works:

Say what your writing goal is for April AND May (I’ll reveal my goals tomorrow). And the most amazing Stephanie Moore will keep track of things for us.

You get to put your name in our virtual drawing if you sign up to play, if you complete your writing weekly goals, meet your goal, and every check-in on our Friday FB post. Invite all your friends! Got friends on Twitter? Instagram? Invite them, too!

The writing goals can be whatever you want them to be: 50 words a day, 5000 words a day or anything in between. They can be editing goals, if you like. Anything to help you get ready for our week-long writing conference this June.

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified on June 1, 2018.
Then we’ll pop the prize in the mail (US residents only), signed to you.
Woot woot!

But that’s not all.

Trent and I will have a sing off at WIFYR. Or we’ll sing a duet. Or something.
And Claudia Mills? That will be a flannel shirt wear-off contest .

Oh my gosh, this just keeps on giving.

So join us for our Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest.

(You DO NOT have to attend WIFYR to play. But if you want to register, go here: http://www.wifyr.com. There are a few spaces open, but many of the classes are almost closed.)

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