Saturday, June 12, 2010

Welcome Lyn Cote

Conflict Grid, Tool for Success

I want to introduce you this very handy tool that I use to plan each of my books. It is part of Kathy Jacobson’s A Novel Approach Handbook. (Available at

If you don’t have conflict, you don’t have a story. With Kathy Jacobson’s CONFLICT GRID,* you can uncover every possible conflict inherent that keep your hero and heroine apart. No more sagging middle. No more trouble crafting a true black moment. No more trouble finding the unifying theme that gives your romance power, no matter what subgenre you write. The CONFLICT GRID also clarifies the basic elements of your romance so that you can pitch it to an editor and give her exactly the info she needs to assess whether it’s a winner or not. The CONFLICT GRID, filled out in full, also provides you all you need to write a proposal. It can be your main planning tool for character and plot. Once you learn it, you’ll wonder how you did without it!

Let's get started!

1- Take a piece of paper and fold it in half-lengthwise or set up a page in Word with two vertical columns.

2- Write the name of your hero at the top of one column and your heroine over the other. To remind yourself that this is designed to highlight their differences, their conflicts write VS.(versus) between them.

3- Now down the left border, write these terms, leaving room to enter their definitions:








Now let me define these terms for you.

SHORT RANGE GOAL: What is the main external challenge in terms of goal for each the hero and heroine?

LONG RANGE GOAL: But if you asked him, what his long term goal is, he would be irritated with you. Often our h/h don't know clearly what is most important to them; many don't want to face it because it would be hard to achieve or it might even go against everything they had ever been taught or everything that has ever been expected of them.

CONFLICT OF CIRCUMSTANCE: EXTERNAL What are the h/h doing that will bring them into conflict? This all about what's going on on the outside of your character's not their inside.

CONFLICT OF PERSONALITY: This encompasses the internal struggles which both h/h must overcome in order to become free of the past and ready and worthy to give and receive love.

CONFLICT OF RELATIONSHIP: is the romantic conflict. Every h/h have a history of romantic relationships--even if it's only watching their parents or friends. What opinion have they formed of falling in love?

EMOTIONAL DANGER is directly related to the CONFLICT OF PERSONALITY or in other words your internal conflict. What EMOTIONAL danger does your hero pose to the heroine and vice versa?

EPIPHANY: This comes either during or after the climax. The hero and heroine finally understand what they must change in their lives, what old ideas and lessons they must delete in order to be rewarded with love or be able to love. This is the theme.

Again, I have to thank Kathy Jacobson for this handy tool. I would suggest you buy her A NOVEL APPROACH full writing course for any genre. I’ve found many more of her worksheets and lesson amazingly productive. She has become a life coach and is no longer writing romance. But her materials are excellent! (Available in PDF 220 pages for $25 at )

And I will be teaching it this September through RWA's Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter.

Drop by and register before August 26th. Cost $25

Hope this helps!

Lyn's latest release, Her Abundant Joy, is available now. Stop by her website, or her blog, for information on how to purchase.

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


Vince said...

Hi Lyn:

This is a very helpful post on conflict. I have printed it out and will take it with me to a writer’s conference next week.

I’ve only read your Love Inspired historicals. Can you tell us something about “Her Abundant Joy”? Should I read the first books in the series first? Is it an inspirational? And most of all, does the War with Mexico play a part in the book?

I am a student of that period. Have you read John S. D. Eisenhower’s book “So Far from God: The U.S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848”. This is my favorite book on the topic. It reads like the best fiction.

Are you also a 'fan' of this time period in history?



Janet said...

Welcome to The Prairies, Lyn! We're so glad you joined us today - and with such an amazing post! Like Vince, I plan on printing this out and using it for all my works in progress. Very concise, concrete, and timely - might help me with my revisions on Lady Bells :)

Again, thanks - looking forward to the day.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Lyn, welcome to the Prairies. This sounds like a very helpful tool for my writer's tool kit. Thank you.

Anita Mae.

Lyn Cote said...

Hi Vince,
Glad to be of help.
Whenever I write a series, each book stands alone so one can read the books in any order.
And yes, my hero scouts for Gen Taylor and fights in more than one battle. I enjoy writing a good battle scene. I tried to make it as accurate as I could.
Let me know what you think!

Lyn Cote said...

My pleasure, Janet and Anita!