Set up to write. No point in reading through this. Write through it.

5 Minutes each node. Several nodes in each section. Go!


So, we arrive at the conflict, this is what we were reluctant to jump into from almost the very start. Now we’ve overcome the fear, made a plan, consulted with experts, availed ourself with the latest gizmo or science, and we stand as ready as will ever be at the gate of the enemy castle, the mouth of the dragon’s cave, the front door of the bully’s house, the threshold of our true love, and and and – – – we walk in!

The first thing that went wrong was…

It took longer to arrive because…

They charge us and my weapon…

My friend from school fell when…

My communication is cut off with them when…

We arrive at the spot and there is no trace except…

More of us were captured than…

Hell in a Hand Basket

All hell breaks loose. This is the part in the story where our plans, hopes, and aspirations are met with the reality of the challenge. This can look like:

your restaurant’s opening week

first seven rounds of the fight match

ancient curse manifests itself through you

a promise you bank your future upon is broken

a promise you made as the previous, corrupt version of, you comes to maturity and you are called to deliver


Their First Time

What are the conflicts and challenges of the first time:

you start college

you drive the unknown craft

you hold a gun on someone

you run from a fight

you stand up to your parents

you care for a dying friend, or a parent, or your child

you perform an operation on the living human

you take your software online

you ask someone outside of dance class to dance

first time you drive competitively in a race

you sail solo

you command the team

you don’t get drunk at a party

you defend yourself

you break the rules

you face the unknown

Life vs Normal Life

What comes after, after the defeats, false starts, and setbacks?

Turmoil is in conflict to our Normal Life

New girlfriend is messy, changes your schedule (strands you, makes other plans…)

We stand inside the gate of the new-to-us turf

This is where the seeds of conflict are planted

This is where conflict arrives from fantasy (or plan) vs reality

This is the tumult of a experience vs dream




-Facing Fear

What if your job is to be a worker ant but you have questions about your purpose? Or you are transitioning from prisoner to freedom after 10 years. Or you are in a perfect position to infiltrate the fallen White House and win it back from the bad guys. See any turmoil possibilities? Turmoil is the engine of story. Your first trip to the grocery store alone or your last ride out of the coal mine to a management job – conflict is your new best friend.

Did you write? I hope so. It is how books get written.

Great thing about these exercises is you can do them over and/or you can do them for 10, 15, 30 minutes.

Do them in a way that works for you.

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