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Mastering Conflict in Scenes

Every scene should contain conflict. This idea set me on my search to figure out what that meant and how I could achieve it. I found that conflicts create tension which encourages readers to turn the page.

The tension lies with the wanting. It can be a small thing: to escape an emotion, to get a cup of coffee. Every main character in the scene should want something out of the exchange in each scene: to vent, to get information, to cause trouble, to ease trouble, to find something, to lose themselves in something. 


Whether or not they get it is up to you. They can get it and be satisfied, not get it and need to try again, get it and find out it wasn't what they needed or requires something further. This is how you propel the reader as they meander or speed through your story. Goals and obstacles supply the gas that keeps the story motor running.
Here are some articles on how to craft conflict to create tension.
Responses to Obstacles



The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website 
www.dianahurwitz.com. Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms such as:


Mastering Character Development

If developed well, a character can live in a reader's mind long after they've forgotten the book's title, plot points, even the author's name. Here are some tips on creating memorable characters.

Memorable Characters

Naming Your Characters

Avoid Sad Sack Protagonists

Reinventing the Hero

Choosing Your Antagonist

Crafting The Con Man

Mob Mentality (how mobs control people)

Angel or Devil

Levels of Antagonism

Friends and Foes

Developing Sidekicks

Sixteen Lovers Part 1

Sixteen Lovers Part 2

Sixteen Lovers Part 3

Sixteen Lovers Part 4

Romance: Points of Connection

Obstacles to Love

Layering Conflict Character Motivation 

Ten Ways to Motivate Characters

Writing (Characters) in Three Dimensions

Should Your Characters Change?

Unpacking your Character Question 1

Unpacking your Character Question 2

Unpacking your Character Question 3

What Drives Your Characters Part 1

What Drives Your Characters Part 2

Tapping Your Character's Currency

Currency in Action

Ditherers and Despots

Conflicts of Project Runway Under Pressure

New Year's Resolution

Personal Ghosts as Conflict

Crafting Creatures: Ghosts

Crafting Creatures: Witches

Crafting Creatures: Vampires

Crafting Creatures: Fae

Crafting Creatures: Angels and Demons

Dressing Your Characters

12 Fascinating Fe/Male Spies

Revising Characters


The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website 
www.dianahurwitz.com. Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms such as:

Character Worksheet

Mannequins Under Pressure

Sixteen Lovers

Communication Conflicts





Mastering Setting

Books can take the reader anywhere in the world, into space, across time, and into fictional worlds. 

In the hands of a master storyteller, the setting can become a character in its own right. It can set the tone of the story, the mood of a scene. It can shed light on universal truths.

Setting can be cheerful, funny, poignant, dramatic or terrifying.

Setting can reinforce a theme or turn it on its head.

Setting details make your story world come alive.

Successful scene setting is not just a laundry list of details. The backdrop of a scene can create obstacles or solve them.

Here are some articles on utilizing setting to enrich your story.

Where in the World?

Scouting Locations

Ten Tools for Crafting A 3-D Setting

 Landscaping Your Story World

Climate and Weather

Story Research: Maps

Build A World Map Sites

Story Scrapbooks

For more in-depth tools for setting, check out the Story Building Blocks Build A World Workbook in ebook and print.

The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website www.dianahurwitz.com. Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms.

Mastering Scenes

Every story is broken down into scenes. A chapter may have more than one scene.

The most important takeaway is this: make every scene count. Don't just kill time or add filler. A scene has a job to do.

It can be an action scene, a taut conversation, a love scene, a chase scene, or an introspective scene.

Make sure you scenes earn their page time.

Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms.

Story and Scene Goals

Understanding Scene Goals

The Importance of "Why?"

Priming the Pump

Reaction Beats

Five Tough Questions

Composing the Scene

Scene Construction Sheet

Scene Worksheet

Goals, Stakes & Outcomes

The Bare Bones Draft


The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my websitewww.dianahurwitz.com


Mastering Story Structure

Whether a writer prefers stream of consciousness or in-depth planning, a basic understanding of story structure is invaluable.

Reading books helps familiarize one with stories. However, analyzing a story's architecture, identifying the things that make it strong and things that make it weak, is a good way to learn the craft of storytelling.

I spent thousands of man-hours poring over books, movies, and television shows scene by scene, beat by beat. Outlining and analyzing story structure, character development, setting, worldbuilding, that I used as fodder for my Story Building Blocks Book Series. I hope the wisdom I distilled can help other writers too.


Here are some articles on understanding story structure.

Are You Plotting or Plodding?

Where to Begin?

First Steps: Situation or Story?

Stretching the Story Seed

Why Pick Genre First?

Does Genre Matter?

Keeping Your Promise

Writing for Children

The Central Question

Genre and the Overall Story Problem

Story Frame

Do You Need A B-Story?

Parallel Plots

What's Your Angle? (Choosing Points of View)

5 Tips For Avoiding POV Speedbumps

Shifting POV

Structuring a Series: The Trilogy

Structuring a Series: The Serial

Structuring a Series: The Relay

Framing the Plot Part 1 Protagonist and Antagonist

Framing the Plot Part 2 Friends

Framing the Plot Part 3 Foes

Framing the Plot Part 4  The Synopsis

No Stakes No Tension

Four Layers of Conflict

External Conflict

Antagonist Conflict

Interpersonal Conflict

Internal Conflict

Layering the Conflicts

Organizing the Layers Part 1

Organizing the Layers Part 2

Shades of Doubt

The Takeaway

Perils of the Paranormal

Jumping the Sharknado

Top 5 Things that Bore Me

Top 10 Reasons I Quit Reading

Toxic Messages in Fiction Part 1

Toxic Messages in Fiction Part 2

History's Mysteries

The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website www.dianahurwitz.com. Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms.

Mastering the Romance

Whether you are writing a swoon-worthy Romance novel or incorporating romance as a layer in other genres, building a believable relationship is crucial to success. As some of the following articles relate, there are areas for improvement in terms of the depiction of healthy relationships.

Here are some tips on writing Romance.

Romance Subgenres

Romance Skeleton

Is it a Love Story?

Dressing Up Your Romance

Romance: Points of Connection

Obstacles to Love

Sixteen Lovers Part 1

Sixteen Lovers Part 2

Sixteen Lovers Part 3

Sixteen Lovers Part 4


Working with Romance

Writing Sex Scenes

The Five Ts of Sex Scenes

The Antagonist Role in Romance

Bad Guys in Romance

Bad Romance

The Trouble with Romance


Subliminal Messages in Romance

Story Building Blocks Build A Plot Workbook: Romance is available in ebook and print.

The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website 
www.dianahurwitz.com. Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms:

Sixteen Lovers

Romance Points of Connection

Obstacles to Love

Mastering Mystery

This week, we offer resources for writing Mysteries. From cozy murders to graphic urban serial killers, readers love a good whodunit. Here are some tips for making a mystery:

The Mystery Skeleton


Mystery Subgenres

Lessons in Detection Part 1

Lessons in Detection Part 2

Lessons in Detection Part 3

Lessons in Detection Part 4

The information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions as well as on my website 
www.dianahurwitz.com.

Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms including these for mysteries:


Crime Worksheet

Suspect Worksheet

Victim Profile

Detection Exercise 1

Detection Exercise 2

Detection Exercise 3

Detection Exercise 4

Dissecting Christie

Story Building Blocks Build A Plot Workbook: Mystery is available in ebook and print.