Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Conflict Box?

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~ Winston Churchill

American Title Fourth Round Voting started. Go forth and Vote! I did (though I have to admit, I didn't love any of the entries this time... weird, because I've had a hard time choosing the best the past few times).

So... I've been trying to get my brain around the latest Crusie/Mayer workshop post, The Central Question and the Conflict Box.

I've had a hard time. I've sent my confusion out into the world (or at least to a few writing friends) who have tried to help me out, but still... some days I wonder if my IQ is around 7.

Fact is, two of my four novels (and most of my short stories) DO NOT work in her conflict box. Period. I wondered for a couple of days about changing something so that they would, but then thought -- it's only one person's idea of what is "right" (though apparently it's more than one person's, and I appear to be the only one stymied by the whole thing. I came to this conclusion after reading the comments on the post -- all raving about how wonderful it is, and what an eye-opening experience).

In fact, at one point Jenny points out that the story, "Cinderella" doesn't fit in the conflict box. And, well, that story seems to have stood the test of time -- AND spawned dozens of stories and movies that mimic the basic storyline.

So maybe I should just get over the whole conflict box thing and just write again. I've spent WAY too much time the past two days pondering that fact that my conflicts are somehow wrong and need fixing.

The hard part is that I love Jenny's writing, and figure that she must know what she's talking about, so for me to disagree with her makes my head hurt.

Guess I'll just have to take an aspirin.


anno said...

Jenny Crusie is a lot of fun to read, but Cinderella is, too.

I'm with you. The central question issue made lots of sense, but the conflict box diagrams gave me a headache as well. Maybe I just woke up too early this morning, or maybe I need some stronger coffee. Maybe an aspirin.

Love the quote this morning!

Judy said...

I don't know that, just because something doesn't work for you... or for your stories, makes one person right and the other wrong. Or that you are disagreeing with her. That works for HER. It works for HER stories. And, quite frankly (and I might be struck dead for saying this) I've read some of Jenny's books and I like yours better. I know you love her... I just can't seem to warm up to her. I think I'm just weird, 'cause I'm not that crazy about "The Nora" either. LOL

Kamy said...

Hi there!
I was at the RWNZ conference when Jenny spoke. The conflict diagram comes after the writing. Write first, do the conflict diagram for editing and use it only to fix things and clarify things. jenny says if you do the conflict diagram before the writing you lose the creativity. Hope that helps.