Monday, August 29, 2011

September Online Workshop: Conflict

As I'm critiquing manuscripts, I'm seeing a common problem: Lack of conflict.
So I'm offering a month long workshop to cover the basics of plot structure and offer perspective.
The class is appropriate for writers of all levels.
My classes are usually $30. but I'm offering this one this month only for $10.

I know September is ACFW conference month--I'll be there, too. We'll work around that week. Don't worry that you won't have time or you'll be unable to keep up, because the lessons are all downloadable and you can study them at your leisure - or even at a later date. See all the information below.

Cher  :-)


DATES:  SEPTEMBER 1 – 30, 2011
** Regularly a $30. class **

No matter what writing topic Cheryl addresses, she hangs the most importance on characters. Conflict is drawn from characters. It’s based on their goals, their backstory and their motivation. It is opposing forces that come from within the characters themselves.

Webster’s Dictionary defines conflict as “the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction.” This definition is the essence of fiction, and we need to keep it in mind as we develop characters and plots. If there’s no conflict, there’s no story.

Conflict, of course, can be either light or heavy. In a humorous story, the problem may not be life threatening, but it still must be important to the characters. The characters’ motivations must be equally important to them. In suspense, the conflict is often life-threatening. All well-developed plots stem from creative use of conflict, and conflict is what keeps the reader turning pages.

In order to understand conflict and how to develop it, we must first understand what conflict is, what conflict is not, and what conflict can be. The elements that make up a story are so closely meshed that at times it becomes difficult to dissect and make a firm delineation between them. In a masterfully developed story, characterization, plotting, and conflict are all intricately entwined.

Cheryl will explain opposing goals and how to create conflict that will sustain a story. She’ll give practical advice on:
  • Motivating characters
  • Creating characters with built-in conflict
  • Revealing emotion through conflict
  • Internal and external conflict
  • Simple and complex conflict
Among her achievements, which include forty published books in both contemporary and historical genres, Cheryl St.John has received multiple Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards and four RITA nominations. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.” She has taught writing on local and national levels, and is in demand as a motivational speaker.

The class will be conducted via subscription to a private yahoogroup, two lessons per week, followed by questions and answers. Brief exercises pertaining to the participant’s current work in progress may be included. Archived class will be available for one week after the ending date.

Cheryl St. John's classes are full of insight and wisdom. Her lessons help me understand what's missing in my story and offer alternative ways to to approach my writing. Cheryl's willingness to share her experience and expertise is greatly appreciated by this aspiring writer. -- Susan Kapost

In July 2010, I received my first personalized rejection: My story had too much external conflict, and not enough internal conflict. For my next book, I took Cheryl St.John's class on conflict, crafted my plot using her proven methods to balance both external and internal conflict, and sent off the manuscript with fingers crossed. In August of 2011, Harlequin Love Inspired Historical bought my book, Winning the Widow's Heart, for release in June 2012. I truly believe Cheryl's class propelled my manuscript out of the slush pile and into an editor's hands.  -- Sherri Shackelford

Cheryl St.John
Marrying the Preacher's Daughter, LIH 6/11
Her Wyoming Man, HH 7/11
Snowflakes and Stetsons, HH 10/11
The Wedding Journey, LIH 4/12
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