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I watched the movie, Absolute Power, tonight. Clint Eastwood plays a masterful jewelry thief who’s in the middle of a jewel heist. Through a one-way mirror, he witnesses the President of the United States having rough sex with a woman. Things get a little too rough and the woman stabs the President in the arm with a letter opener. He screams and his Secret Service agents charge in with guns drawn and kill the woman. 

Since I started writing, I find myself dissecting every book I read, every movie I watch. Tonight was no different. This movie made me think about the importance of conflict in a story. It’s the ooohs and ahs. Conflict captures our attention and keeps us riveted to the story.

Clint’s character is a thief. If he goes to the police, they’ll ask him why he was hiding in the secret vault. Conflict. The President’s worried about getting caught sleeping with his best friend’s wife. Conflict. The President’s best friend worries about what people will think about him and his secret vault with the one-way mirror.  Conflict. Clint’s character’s concerned that what he knows may endanger his estranged daughter. Double conflict. And this all happens in the first half hour. 

With conflict, we need resolution. We need to tie up all of the loose ends in a plausible manner. (By the way, I can’t stand reading books where there’s a dog or cat involved and at the end of the story, I don’t know what happened to the dog or cat. That makes me crazy. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with conflict, but I consider it a loose end.)

When I’m plotting a story and thinking about conflict, I have to figure out how the conflict is resolved. The resolution might change as the story progresses but initially, I can’t think about conflict without a way to resolve it. That’s just the way my brain works.

What about you? Do you create the conflict and know the resolution or tap away and resolve the conflict as the story unfolds? 


Australia Romance Readers Association – Silent Auction for Flood Relief

The members of the ARRA are holding a silent auction at their annual convention on March 26, 2011  to raise funds for flood relief.  As you know,  large sections of NE Australia were flooded, forcing mass evacuations in the area. They are accepting donations for the auction. If you’re interested in donating an item, please click on the link below.



And… here’s the line-up for Romance University    www.romanceuniversity.org

2011 is a year of opportunities and change and Romance University remains determined to support your growth and exploration as writers, readers and more.  

Mon, 1/31 – Crafting Your Career – RU’s own Jennifer Tanner talks shop about her favorite workshops. 

Weds, 2/2 – An interview with world traveler and author Loucinda McGary

Fri, 2/4  – Chaos Theory of Writing – Readers and Writers!  Take RU’s Poll to help us target your wants for RU in 2011.

Mon, 2/7 – Crafting Your Career – Urban Fantasy writer C.J. Redwine is back for another installment of Query Writing 101.

Weds, 2/9 – Have you ever wondered how book clubs pick and choose? What gets them reading? Join RU’s Heather Long as she explores the Books that Bite.

Fri, 2/11 – Chaos Theory of Writing – To Steampunk or Not to Steampunk: Is That Your Question? Author Beth Daniels guides your journey.

All Romance University lectures are generously provided by our Visiting Professors. RU is a tuition-free zone!

Best regards,

Jennifer Tanner, Heather Long, Carrie Spencer,  Becke Martin, Adrienne Giordano, Tracey Devlyn, & Kelsey Browning