The only way to hold a reader or publisher and to keep the pages turning is to use conflict and resolution every beat of the scene.  This means that a character wants something and there is something in the way of their getting their need met.

Conflict is important to define the arc of a story, BUT conflict must be on every page, or at least every page and a half. The way to find conflict is to review each step of action per page and define NEED, WANT, OBSTACLE, ACTION, and define HOW THIS CONFLICT IS RESOLVED.  To resolve conflict one force wins and another force looses.  

Aristotle defined the concept, giving us 2000 years of writing that works!


Make a list of wants for each character in each scene. 

What is their intention/agenda when they enter the scene? 

What is their obstacle, what stands in their way?

How is this conflict resolved?

How does this resolution lead into the scene that follows?

Analyze each beat, each moment in your scenes using the chart below. Try this for at least one scene.  I challenge you to complete this chart for each scene in an entire chapter.  (I make a copy of this chart and insert it with each scene in my manuscript.  If there is no answer, you have found an area to work.  Send me your results.  *protected email*


SCENE:                TIME:                PLACE:









All rights reserved  
2009                                                          Reproduce
only with permission from Anne Randolph                              *protected email*