Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Phil. 1: 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
What do you mean conflict? Like fist fights? Knock down, drag out, bar room brawl scenes?

No, no, no friends. Conflict in writing is essentially a stirring of emotions. Did you ever notice how picking out a dress or shirt to wear can cause you to look for a different dress and just forget about shoes, that’s a whole other conflict in and of itself!

Have you ever read a book that didn’t have conflict? Seriously, a book with no conflict is not even a book, okay it may be a text book or something but a story is not going to be carried along without the proper use of conflict.

Did you ever struggle with a spiritual decision? There you go, that is internal conflict. How about struggling with a school assignment? Conflict! Or how about trying to decide if you’re marrying the right man when a new one comes along. Oh yeah, that’s conflict.

What I’m getting at here is Lesson four, it's all about conflict. In f2k we hand you the essentials that is needed to build a story and you guessed it, after you use the senses, you need to get the gist of whose POV you’re going to use, then it is on to conflict and the struggle of what will carry your story (whether short story or novel, fiction or non-fiction) you basically have to have conflict for your reader to stay stuck on the book like a licked stamp! (Wait they don’t have those anymore, but you get what I mean, right?)

Conflict isn’t as simple as a car crash scene, or an argument, or war. More times than not the conflict in a story comes from inner turmoil. The point of indecision, the inability to make up your mind. This is all considered good story material and you can build around the conflict many paragraphs or chapters if you like. The idea here is not to be so full blown that it becomes over the top implausible to believe, you have to nurture the conflict like taking care of a wound. You don’t just hurry it up to heal, it takes time to heal, and then there is the scab, and then the full crux of the tale where we find completion, satisfaction. The healing of the sore so to speak.

So where is your conflict going to lead us, the reader? I like a good conflict in a story but I want subtlety. As in lesson three, you don’t need to go over the top, you just need to understand what conflict adds to a tale and you are well on your way to making the most out of your story.

Now what are you going to do? Give me some conflict and I’ll give you a brownie point!


Ro said...

I must admit, I have no idea for my conflict yet. Well, I've got a few ideas, but making it work isn't quite there yet. I'm looking forward to looking at the lesson tomorrow.

I did Benning's POV challenge and it came out really bizarre. Thinking back on it, I think there was conflict in that, but now I'm not sure haha! I feel like I'm cheating, having seen the lessons before on your blog haha! Before the POV lesson came out, and before you posted on it, I searched your blog for it hehehe!

joni said...

Sorry I didn't get back in to comment on your comment. My dad is in the hospital, and I think I've been in prayer most of the day. (My family is back in Maryland while I'm in Nebraska.)

Anyway... it is not cheating. :) I don't give away the actual lesson, I just give info to help you complete the lesson. :)

Jnoi plays it safe from the big guys. lol

You're doing great Ro! :)

Ro said...

Oh dear, praying hard here. Keep us posted...*hugs*

suzmuse said...

Hi Joni~ First, please know I understand your concern in being in NE with your dad's being in the hospital in MD and I wish I could fix it for you. I can pray for him, for you, and for his medical caregivers, and I will do that, and I will check back to see how he is(and you are)doing.
Second, I found One Voice-Write Right late so I don't know what you keep referring to when you mention f2k but since it seems important, is it archived where I could go back to it?
There is something about the way you explain that is on my wavelength and while I write more for my own pleasure and life-story, I know whatever I write will be better because of your teaching, so thank you!
M. Sue

June said...

Great examples and explanation for using conflict in writing, Joni!

Way to go...

Your F2K students are lucky to have you!

joni said...

Thanks Sue,
A little update on my dad: He's out of ICU, and I know it is only because of all the prayer. He's not out of the hospital yet, they're going to run more test. They can't seem to find why he is bleeding.
Prayer is the most sufficient thing anyone can ever do at a time like this and I take it all! :) Thank you!

F2k is a free writing course that I mentor along with five or six other mentors. Yes it is FREE, it is seven weeks long, and yes it is archived. :) I've written about it so much I just assumed everyone knew what it was. :)

Ro, the commenter above, took the leap and is taking the course and she is loving it! :)


Try copy/pasting that link or head to my archives. I think it is in April 2010, when we began. :)

Maybe I'll encourage you to join too?

Thanks Sue, I'm glad you found me.

joni said...

Thanks June!
I was just telling Sue about F2K, and here you pop in, the mentor of all mentors. :)

I liked this lesson too, but I sure can do without all the conflict in my real world. lol

Be well,

June said...

LOL, Joni - I thought we only had conflict in our stories.... :)

joni said...

Ahh, but life imitates art right? WRITE! ;)