Here’s the ironic thing about conflict: most of us try to avoid it in our own lives, yet if every book we read was devoid of it, we’d probably get bored by the second chapter. To create a bestseller – or just a novel that sells at all – you have to make sure that every chapter (or even every scene) contains some sort of conflict or tension that will keep the reader on board. This also means that if your first novel is semi-autobiographical (which first novels usually are, apparently), unless you’ve lived a life more extraordinary, you will need to embellish. A lot. (Without pulling a James Frey.) This week’s module taught us how to create the type of conflict that turns a good story into an exhilarating one – it doesn’t always need to be overt, but it does need to be gripping.

For more information on the Random House Struik/GetSmarter creative writing course, go to

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