On Wednesdays I like to share information, the kind of stuff I wish someone would have shared with me when I started on my writing, publishing and marketing journey.

Writer Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Writing Conflict

I have always had trouble writing conflict, the fiction type that is. My first 3 books are nonfiction and based on conflict so I only had to write what happened, in my own words.

Making conflict up from scratch is a whole different matter. I don’t like conflict at all and have spent my life trying to avoid it but to tell a good story conflict is an absolute necessity. Even worse it needs to happen in every scene. Conflict is what moves the story forward.

Conflict comes in all shapes sizes and degrees. Every scene doesn’t have to an impending asteroid crash and saving the earth. Conflict can be as simple as a character not being able to find his/her keys.


For me when it comes to showing verses telling, especially when writing conflict I like to have my characters go through the five stages of grief. It’s a simple (if there is such a thing) way for me to show what they are feeling whether they’ve broken a shoe lace or been turned into a werewolf.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Dialogue is a good way to introduce drama and then to build conflict but it can get boring if you use it continuously through an entire action scene.

There are two types of conflict, Internal and external. Internal conflict happens in the mind (deciding whether or not to beat someone up) and external conflict is more physical (physically beating someone up.)

Each conflict needs a conclusion. The conclusion doesn’t necessarily have to be wrapped up in a happy ending, unless it is the ending of the book and you want it to be happy. The conflict of the lost keys could end in the character finding them or in not finding them and needing to call someone for a ride. Whichever way you choose to end your characters conflict it should involve moving the story forward. What if your character called his best friend for a ride and the best friend was unavailable but his girlfriend is available. She arrives to take him to work and there is an accident along the deserted road she chose as a shortcut because he was so late. End of chapter. This scenario could lead to any number of new conflicts that serve to continue moving the story forward.

Happy writing,


Events for The Stranger In My Recliner:

Sophi Book and BBS

I will be at The Philadelphia Writers Conference June 10th, 11th and 12th.

June 25th (12pm-2pm) I will be joining six other authors at the Doylestown Bookshop for their celebration of small press authors and publishers.




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