A Blog That Changed My Writing! Thank You!

How to Hook a Reader and NEVER Let Go

I saw a link to this blog post on Twitter this morning.  When I had a few minutes, I started reading it, and what Kristen Lamb said there blew my socks off.  Although I've been trying to include conflict in my first romance novel, I'd never broken down the conflict chapter by chapter before. 

I had tried to write my story in one sentence before. Here's what I had:
Problems presented by an old boat inherited from her mother challenge the girl's views of both her mother’s and her choices in life and love.
But Kristin said that that one sentence must include an active goal, stakes and conflict so I re-wrote it:
As Hadley rushes to sell the boat inherited from her deceased mother so she can leave the bitter memories of her childhood behind, she hires the perfect man for the job, but begins to suspect that he knows dangerous secrets about her mother’s life and death
Then Kristin said to figure answer several questions about every scene.  OK. (I'm thinking chapters here)

Chapter One:

Scene Problem: Hadley must get her mind around the problem of selling her boat
Conflict Lock: She and Kain actually have the same goal, but he is there to help her under false pretense, and is obviously keeping secrets and is not who he seems.  (Is that good enough--need to think about that)
Stakes:  She doesn’t realize that she’s being played.
Antagonist: I think it's Kain here.  We don't know why he dislikes her and wants her to leave quickly. We know why she wants to--she's open about that.

Answering these questions makes me wonder if my conflict is strong enough in Chapter One. I'll have to think about it.

Chapter Two really threw me for a loop. It's a lot of setting the scene and backstory.  Opps!

Scene Problem: Hadley has time to reflect on why this place is a problem for her and why she has to get out of here asap.  (need more conflict here!)
Conflict Lock: ?
Stakes:  ?
Antagonist:  ?

 Thank you so much, Kristin.  I read about authors who, after several books, realize their book had no conflict.  You may have saved me that agony. 

I am shamlessly mentioning her best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’sGuide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer, because I SO want to win s free critique from me on the first 15 pages of my novel from Krisin...after a make a few change...


  1. Actually those scenes will be much easier to fix once you apply this formula. Thanks for the shout-out and I am so happy I could help. Your premise sounds excellent, so you should do just fine.

    Kristen Lamb


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