No Conflict, No Story
A Masterclass on Getting Your Characters Into - and Out of - Trouble
What do you call a manuscript without effective conflict?
The conflict in your story needn't be an angry one.
Or a violent one.
Or a serious one.
Or even one that is noticeable to your characters.
But it MUST be there.
Your characters must overcome obstacles. It could be the weather. Or rules. Or time. Or their emotions. Or the annoying kid next door.
Whatever the source of conflict, it is essential that your characters don't just cruise blithely and easily through your story. Because, without that conflict, you don't really have a story. Just a recounting of events.
And simple recountings of events don't get published.
Meet Todd Mitchell, writing professor and award-winning author of young adult, middle grade fiction and graphic novels.
Todd's books are true page-turners, crackling with tension. That's because he's a master at seeding his work with conflict. Or, as Todd likes to call it, "Getting my characters into, and out of, trouble."
Until now, only his students in the Colorado State University writing program were privy to his techniques for employing the right conflicts to craft thrilling stories. But now, you have the opportunity to learn from Todd directly, in this breakthrough workshop:
In this hands-on workshop, Todd will take you step-by-step through the process of creating conflict in your story, using it to transform characters and keeping readers glued to the page.
Think the types of stories you write don't need conflict?
With the exception of certain alphabet books or board books for babies, virtually every type of fiction requires conflict.
In this comprehensive class you'll learn:
- How to let go of the belief that young readers can't handle real conflict in their stories.
- Why conflict is necessary in today's market, and how to find the right conflicts for your characters (regardless of their age or the story genre).
- How understanding the crucial difference between a story and a situation will make most stories more gripping.
- The perfect place to start stories by unearthing the main character’s inciting incident.
- The three things you must know about your characters to create a riveting plot.
- How to create internal conflict through external actions.
- How to effectively use conflict to eliminate boring story middles, so every event escalates stakes and reveals character.
- The basics of the Three Act Structure, with an understanding of how conflict makes stories (from picture books to novels) feel engaging, significant, and emotionally impactful.
- How to correctly use conflict at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your story.
- How these techniques play out in very short stories (like picture books) through full-length novels.
...and much more.
That's a lot of powerful information in one workshop, and you can count on Todd to make it all easy to follow and easy to put directly into action.
You'll also get two fillable PDF handouts to identify and develop the seeds of conflict as it relates to character and plot:
- Character and Plot Tip Sheet. Todd's checklist of most important points to remember when using conflict as the foundation for creating compelling character and plot arcs.
- The Ultimate Story Structure Worksheet. An innovative fillable worksheet to help develop characters and brainstorm their motivations and conflicts, and then see how these qualities lead to plot points.
Todd is an award-winning author of young adult, middle grade fiction and graphic novels, and an Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing Pedagogy at Colorado State University.
His published work includes:
The Traitor King (Scholastic, Todd Mitchell Books)
The Secret to Lying (Candlewick Press)
Backwards (Candlewick Press)
The Last Panther (Yearling)
The Naming Girl (Owl Hollow Press)
Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self (Owl Hollow Press)
He lives "in a pointy green house in Fort Collins with a hyper dog, extremely cool wife, and two wise daughters".