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Roads to Writing 5. Conflict

Roads to Writing 5. Conflict

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Roads to Writing 5. Conflict

56 pages
43 minutes
Oct 18, 2017


This essay deals with conflict in creative writing. It explains what it is and how it can be incorporated into stories. There is a chapter dealing with the definition of conflict, another has a directory of conflicts then follows many examples of conflict being used to bring stories to life.

Oct 18, 2017

À propos de l'auteur

David McRobbie was born in Glasgow in 1934. After an apprenticeship he joined the Merchant Navy as a marine engineer and sailed the world, or some of it. Eventually he worked his passage to Australia, got married and settled down for a bit only to move to Papua New Guinea where he trained as a teacher.Subsequently he found work as a college lecturer, then a researcher for parliament. Back in Australia in 1974 he joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a producer of radio and television programs for young people.In 1990 he gave up this work to become a full time writer for children and young adults. He has written over thirty paperbacks, mainly novels, but some are collections of short stories, plays and ‘how-to’ books on creative writing.Three of his novels were adapted for television, with David writing all of the sixty-five scripts — the first being The Wayne Manifesto in 1996, followed by Eugénie Sandler, PI then Fergus McPhail. These shows were broadcast throughout the world, including Australia and Britain on BBC and ITV.The BBC adapted another of David’s novels for television — See How They Run, which became the first BBC/ABC co-production.At the age of 79, David is still at work. His most recent paperback novels are Vinnie’s War, (Allen & Unwin) published in 2011, about childhood evacuation in the second world war. This was followed by To Brave The Seas, in 2013, a story about a 14-year-old boy who sails in Atlantic convoys during WW2. Both books are available online.

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Aperçu du livre

Roads to Writing 5. Conflict - David McRobbie

Roads to Writing

A Personal View

5. Conflict

David McRobbie

Copyright 2017 David McRobbie

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal use only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this essay, please purchase an additional copy for each person with whom you share it. If you’re reading this e-book and did not purchase it, then you should buy your own copy.

Thank you for respecting the author's work.

Cover image: Alice-Anne Boylan


Prologue — A story fragment.

Chapter One — What is conflict?

Chapter Two — A directory of conflicts.

Chapter Three — Enter the villain.

Chapter Four — Some examples.

Chapter Five — Conflicts from here, there and everywhere.

About the Writer

Other books by David McRobbie


A Story Fragment

Geoffrey rushed home from school at lunch time on Friday. The whole Year Ten class had been given the afternoon off, a study break, the teacher said. Nice one, Geoffrey thought. His much better plan was to flop into his favourite bean bag then sprawl for an hour or two in front of television. Homework and study could wait until later, maybe Saturday or Sunday. Monday morning at the latest. But his mother had other ideas.

Geoffrey,’ she announced, using her no-nonsense voice, ‘take the money to the bank, pay it in and make sure you get a receipt.’

Aw, Mum,’ he protested. ‘I’ve got study. Heaps of it.’

It’ll take ten minutes of your life. Off you go.’

His parents owned a small shop, specialising in light fittings, so from time to time, Geoffrey was called upon to lend a hand. He eased himself out of his comfortable seat, took the canvas bag containing bank notes, coins and cheques and left the house.

There was a queue in the bank, with only two tellers on duty. Typical, Geoffrey thought, there are four windows but only two tellers, and they are very slow. One of them was even making conversation. How’s your day been? Isn’t the weather nice? That sort of thing. But the queue moved at last and it was Geoffrey’s turn. He watched the teller count the notes and coins, fold the cheques, wrap them in a rubber band then write a receipt. At last, at last.

Geoffrey sprinted for home. With any luck his favourite show would not have started.

Ah, bliss. He wrapped himself into the bean bag just as the opening titles appeared on the TV screen.

The End

Chapter One

What is Conflict?

Years ago, when I occasionally offered creative writing sessions in primary and secondary schools, I’d start my conversation on conflict with the story of Geoffrey, the one you’ve just read. The students would listen politely until I’d finished then make secret, swivel-eyed looks at each other in a puzzled sort of way. Is this guy for real?

That wasn’t a story. No way.

I’d ask innocently enough, ‘Did you like it?’

The students were always polite yet still a touch mystified. Here was this guy, the teacher told them, had written paperbacks and TV series, now he’s telling us that Geoffrey thing was a story. He’s got to be kidding.

I’d encourage the students, ‘Well, what do you think of it? It had characters, a beginning, middle and end.’

At last, one student, bolder than the others, would lift a tentative forefinger. This was no confident raising of the whole arm, this was diplomacy. He or she would say politely, ‘Um — it was a bit — um — boring.’

‘Right,’ I’d say with a pretend frown. ‘Why is it boring?’

Another student would join in and tell the class, ‘Nothing happened.’

Then there was a free-for-all with comments coming at me thick and fast. The story was ordinary. No excitement. No mystery. Nothing interesting took place. It was

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