Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Conference Presentation--How To Write Kick Butt Conflict

Well, as most of you know, I'm presenting at the Utah Valley Writers Lecture Series tomorrow on How to Write Kick Butt Conflict Using Action and Suspense.

As I've been prepping, there's several parts that are screaming for audience participation.  The only problem is, I'm worried that people might think I'm weird.  Or a few croutons short of a salad if you get my drift.  I mean, if someone is teaching you about building suspense and anticipation and has a large pin in their hand, would you be scared to be asked to come up and be an "assistant?"  Or, if we're talking about fight scenes, wouldn't it be more fun to "act" things out?  Oh man, my imagination is running away with me.

I even made a handout for my class. Want to see it?

Creating Kick-Butt Conflict Using Action and Suspense
by Julie Coulter Bellon

Conflict and suspense are two of the reasons we get lost in a book.  No matter what genre it is, we want to see what’s going to happen and how these characters will overcome the obstacles facing them.  Yet, sometimes writers don’t focus enough on keeping the tension taut and their readers in suspense.  These conflict techniques will make your writing compelling to any reader, draw them in, and keep them reading.

The Whole Point of the Story
            Main Conflict
            Secondary

What’s Your Problem?
            Internal
            External

Raise The Stakes¾As Kenny Rogers Would Say Know When to Hold ‘Em
            Reader Expectation
            Realism
            Deadlines

The Clock is Ticking¾Have You Created Suspense and Anticipation?
            Scene Pacing
            Hooks
            Tension

Is It Over? Resolution or Twist? Tips on What to Do and What to Avoid
            Organic
            Maguffins
            Deus ex machina

Writing Nuts and Bolts¾Choose Your Words
            Sentence Length
            Story Pacing
            The Tension Chart
            Character Goals and POV

Tips for Writing Action Scenes

The Domino Effect

Juggling the Action

True to Life

Tempo
           

Consequences



As you can see above, I even used my Kenny Rogers reference! I am so excited about this class. I wish you all could come. I mean, if you read that handout, wouldn't you want to come to it? Maybe I should have jazzed it up and put a graphic of a bomb under the table or something. Hopefully it's as fun and interesting in real life as it has been to prepare for it. And that people think it's helpful. Cross your fingers for me, okay? And maybe send good thoughts to the people I rope into being my "assistants." *evil grin*

What are you going to do this weekend? Anything fun?


6 comments:

Debra Erfert said...

*whining loudly* I want to come to your presentation!

I'm cleaning this weekend. Yeah, I need to whine.

Jon Spell said...

I got lost reading your first sentence:

Conflict and suspense are two of the reasons we get lost in a book.

The next sentence kind of supports my warped perception, too. Unfortunately, it doesn't pan out and tell me how now to get lost. =) (This may not be a problem for everyone.)

I'm not sure what it says, but I was singing that little bit of Kenny just yesterday. And the best that you can hope for is you die in your sleep. =)

Augh, I wish I could come to your presentation, too, but I have too much conflict in RL to manage it, plus I have this big MacGuffin in the way.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Debra, I wish you could be there, too.

Jon, is it the "lost in the book" that is throwing you off? I'm trying to understand what's not working for you and it's hurting my poor little brain. LOL Too bad you can't come to we can discuss it in person! Next time. Hey, maybe you can bring your family to the Canada Day Celebration on Monday. It'll be fun.

And maybe the Kenny part you mentioned is an omen for my presentation tomorrow. Uh oh.

Jon Spell said...

You're saying "we get lost in a book" meaning we get captivated by the book and lose ourselves as we fully embrace the story. I was reading it as "I got lost while reading, and couldn't figure out what was going on." You see, I wanted to be IN the action, seeing it take place, but I felt like I was watching one of those shaky-cam Bourne movies and I couldn't tell who was hitting who or who was winning until a body hit the floor.

You see?

I don't think I'll be able to manage the fam on Monday. Lucky to manage me.

Julie, as for your presentation tomorrow, I'm sure you'll have a few aces up your sleeves. If not, you need to know when to walk away, and know when to run. =)

Braden said...

Sound great! Wish I could be there.

Kate's Novel Idea said...

Your class was so great! I especially loved you beating up a guy and explaining each of the punches ^-^ I'm glad I got to be there and meet you!