Does every novel need conflict?



Short answer: Sure.

Reason: Keeps the story interesting. Makes the reader want to continue to find out the resolution.

This week, I had a couple days to sit down and dig deep into the crevices of my brain and plot out the scenes for the Flour City Blues sequel. With most of the ideas, I’m finding myself laughing out loud over the hilarity that is going to be happening throughout the story. Then, I came to a complete halt.

Where is the conflict?

Throughout this musically-enhanced joyride that this book is going to be, I found this to be my real-life conflict. Where am I going with everything? Am I going to let my characters off the hook easily or throw them a few curve balls?

Flour City Blues had plenty of conflict: the parents, girl troubles and a brief rift in friendship. It came extremely easy. With this book, I’m finding it a bit challenging.

Comedy aside, I’m sure I’ll come up with something.


Have you had issues with developing conflict in your writing? How did you resolve your own writing “conflict”?






Photo: Ove Töpfer via Free Images



The path to fictional writing enlightenment lies in Bluto


Oh baby, it is time! I’ve got the itch and it needs to be scratched! We’re talking about getting a move on the sequel to FLOUR CITY BLUES.

I don’t know what other authors do while they write—if they listen to music, have a particular spot to write, etc. For me, I gather my inspiration from classic pop culture and music.

I set up a soundtrack with my last book, and made references to Bill Murray movies (Stripes and Meatballs), because I developed this character—who for some reason—loves those classic SNL cast members (Murray, Chase, Belushi) and carries that type of juvenile, pervy humor with him well.

The soundtrack included the bands that the characters love. It consisted of doo-wop, garage and pop-punk. I listened my soundtrack well into the hours of the night, while I wrote. For me, music playing consistently helps me cut out any distractions and permits me to write for a few hours.

So the next book is going to pick up where the last left off. We have high school graduates! The story will continue as my lovely boys experience life after high school. College? What about the band? I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say one thing—two words:

Animal House.

Yes. Animal House. When I started talking about toying with the idea of writing a sequel I immediately thought of this movie. It is perfectly appropriate with nonsense, oozing with collegiate sexuality and you have your resident flunkie student, Bluto. It has been my go-to reference while jotting notes and ideas for the next book.

Toga! Toga! Toga!

And believe me, this is going to be a riot to write. I have some anecdotes and scene ideas scribbled out, and I found myself laughing so hard, I started coughing.

You know, those types of coughs where it really hurts and your eyes start watering…


Writers: How do you write? Do you set up a soundtrack or write in silence? Where do you get your inspiration?