The earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets

best writers best writing coaches Carrie Jones
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation

We’re keeping it simple this week, my friends, with three big tips to write better novels and being a better human.

Make your stories sexy and accurate.

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not write ‘y’all’ or ‘bless your heart.’

You can’t write a book that takes place in the south and not have sugar in iced tea.

Similarly, you can’t write a book in New England in the winter and not have the character’s breath puff out into the cold air.

Your stories lose impact if you fail to be concise and sharp.

Your stories lose impact if your readers think, “WTF is this? There are no kangaroos in Maine.”

So, know your people. Know your setting.

And this goes for life too. If you keep buying your wife red roses and she’s told you a bunch of times that she doesn’t like roses, she likes tulips and bright flowers because roses remind her of death?

Yeah, that’s not good.

If you’re handing out flyers in a high school to promote your Gram and you don’t look like you’re in high school? Not going to go well.

If you leave your halloween prop out in May? Not going to go well.

Listen. Learn the details. Be appropriate, my friends.

Have a f-ing point.

A story should have a damn theme. It’s what you want to say in the story. It reflects your personal beliefs, your experiences.

What’s a theme? According to MasterClass,

“A literary theme is the main idea or underlying meaning a writer explores in a novel, short story, or other literary work. The theme of a story can be conveyed using characters, setting, dialogue, plot, or a combination of all of these elements.”

So, your life should have a theme, too.  What is your life’s theme?

Redemption? Love? Courage? Revenge? Good vs evil? Perseverance?

Pick one and give your life some meaning.

If it gives your life meaning to steal someone else’s adult toys for years and years (See the link) just know that this is illegal and stuff.

Don’t jump from one head to another.

Readers want to get attached to your narrator. You don’t want to jump around from one character to another. That’s how the reader gets confused and detached and doesn’t want to follow the story any longer.

So, life is like that, too. Yeah, sometimes it’s frustrating hanging with one person, but you hop around too much? You might get a disease. Make your hopping purposeful.


Put the damn conflict in there early.

In real life, it’s pretty nice to not have drama or conflict all the time. It allows us to blossom and to grow. And it’s easy to get addicted to the energy of drama and try to incite it for attention.

But peeps, that’s not the kind of attention you want. Negative attention kind of sucks. You want the positive kind.

However, in stories, the earlier you put the conflict, the more invested your reader gets. They want to know what happens. Readers (and people) are a bit addicted to conflict and drama and you want to put that on the page.


Care enough to make your settings accurate, put in the conflict early, have a point and don’t hop around from character to character.


Sometimes things don’t make sense. Figure them out. Investigate the stuff that doesn’t make sense because that’s how you learn and grow and understand things beyond you and your bubble of experience.


The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You’ll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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