Tag Archives | Conflict

How Losing Your Purse Can Improve Your Writing

If you’ve ever visited the DEPARTURES area of the airport, you probably know that it is not exactly an oasis of tranquility. There are cars trying to park; cars trying to double park, cars trying to squeeze out of where they’ve double-parked, orange cones, orange vests, whistles, and general chaos. I was being dropped off at Burbank Bob Hope Airport by my mom and dad, 74 and 80 respectively, and wanted to debark as efficiently as possible […]


The Secret to Writing a Commercial Hit

Here’s the answer to the question nearly every aspiring author has asked (whether they admit it or not): How do you write a bestseller? Well, I’m going to tell you how. Ready? The answer is: You can’t. Well, duh, JJ, you might say. Keep your head down and write your own book, that’s what everyone says. That’s all true, of course. But it doesn’t stop all of us (agents and editors included!) from trying to find/write The Next Big Thing. […]


A Quick Tip to Keep Your Scenes Moving

I’m deep in revisions right now, and one trick I use to test my plot and make sure my story is, well, going somewhere, is to ask three simple questions in every scene: Question One: What is the protagonist trying to do? This shows me the goal of every scene. If I can’t answer this, then I know the scene goal is either nonexistent or needs work. This allows me to make sure my protagonist […]


Correcting Problems with Pacing

When I read through an early draft, problems with the pacing usually jump out at me first. I might notice that an action scene drags, or a romantic scene zips by without any real connection between the characters. If your own draft feels flat, you may need to work on your pacing. When a writer gets the pacing right, readers connect with the characters and keep turning pages. Narrative pace refers to the rate at […]


Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

So…GMC. Maybe you’ve heard the letters bandied about—“Oh, my hero just doesn’t have a strong enough internal GMC.” Or maybe it’s all Greek to you. G = Goal. (What is it the character wants to achieve? Or what is the character wants to avoid?) M = Motivation. (Why does the character want this goal?) C = Conflict. (What stands in the character’s way? Why can’t the character have the goal?) There are two types of […]