Home    Workshops    Members Only    Contests    Join    Contact us                       RWA Chapter

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conflict Grid, Tool for Success

Please welcome guest blogger Lyn Cote

Once you learn it, you’ll wonder how you did without it!

I discovered the conflict grid in the early 90's. Kathy Jacobson AKA Kathy Lloyd who was writing for Harlequin at the time did an RWA Conference Workshop on it. Then she began a monthly newsletter the A Novel Approach (ANA) which I subscribed to for its three year run. I've used Kathy's ANA so often over the past years. I am disappointed that so few people are aware of her fine complete writing course. (220 pages Available at http://www.kathyjacobson.com)

The main writing tool I use of hers is the conflict grid. This tool works for both pantsters and plotters. And I find that it gives me all I need to write a proposal for a new book or series so I always begin with it. The conflict grid demonstrates the marriage of characterization and plotting and helps me develop a unifying theme which infuses a novel with even more emotional power.

The conflict grid begins with the concept of pitting the hero and heroine against each other in five different areas: their long range and short range goals, their conflict of circumstance, conflict of personality and conflict of relationship. Having five areas of conflict means that a writer will never face the sagging middle—(I never have!). In the area of characterization, it always helps me dig deeper into my hero and heroine and helps me craft their backstory. Doing backstory focusing first on areas of conflict sets them against each other without any need for a shoe-horn—if you know what I mean! No forcing conflict; with the grid, it just flows from deep character.

After this comes the discussion of danger, not physical but emotional danger which leads me into coming up with the best black moment which in turn leads to the epiphany which leads to theme. Once I've filled the conflict grid out I have all I need of the basic elements of my romance to pitch it to an editor and give her exactly the info she needs to assess it. I cannot recommend Kathy Jacobson's Conflict Grid to you enough. It has served me for over thirty books.

Again, I have to thank Kathy Jacobson for this handy tool. She has become a life coach and is no longer writing romance, but she has given me permission to teach her method. And I will be teaching the conflict grid this September through RWA's Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter.

Drop by http://www.romance-ffp.com/event.cfm?EventID=108 and register before August 26th.

Hope this helps! Any questions?

When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Long years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen by Steeple Hill for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre. Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com Lyn also can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Drop by and "friend or follow" her. Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.

Her latest release is Her Abundant Joy, the final book in her Texas Star of Destiny series, to purchase drop by her website or blog http://strongwomenbravestories.blogspot.com.

Her Abundant Joy

Can a beautiful young widow find peace in the arms of a Texas Ranger?

In 1846, young widow Mariel survived the grueling voyage from Germany to start a new life in the "promised" land of ?Texas. Forced by circumstances to become a servant, Mariel is now determined to leave her harsh master. But how can a single woman face the frontier on her own?

Texas Ranger Carson Quinn is responsible for leading Mariel's party of German immigrants safely through dangerous Comanche-held territory. As he watches Mariel hold her head high in spite of everything, he knows he will do anything to protect her. But war is brewing: Mexico will not accept the U.S. annexation of the young Texas Republic without a fight. Honor bound to defend Texas, Carson's deepest longing is to lay down his rifle and forge a future with Mariel. As he struggles to determine God's path for him, Mariel watches the man she loves torn in two.

Will the tide of history keep them from giving their love a chance?

The Conflict Grid, Tool for Success Presented by Lyn Cote with permission of Kathy Jacobson runs from August 30, 2010 through September 26, 2010


Taryn Kincaid said...

What a marvelous idea! It's like brainstorming by graph. Must try it.

Anonymous said...