Pauls Toutonghi knows that sometimes you need to take risks to do what you love. In 2000, he took a chance sending his short story “Regeneration” to The Boston Review—and ended up winning a Pushcart Prize! He took a risk to see if he could translate that success into writing a longer work—and became the proud author of the acclaimed novel Red Weather.
Toutonghi is channeling that daredevil attitude in his newest book Evel Knievel Days. In the novel, his young protagonist, Khosi Saqr, is inspired by the great motorcycling madcap and embarks on a risky journey from Montana to Cairo, Egypt to track down his missing father. Today, Toutonghi wants to help you overcome your fears with a Daily Theme that encourages you to embrace the thing most of us spend our time avoiding: conflict!
Figment Daily Theme – August 9, 2012
It’s easy to imagine characters. But it can be tough to get these characters into situations where they’re in conflict with each other. And from conflict comes great stories.
Here’s an exercise I use to help the students in my creative writing classes at Lewis and Clark College develop conflict in their writing—some of my students have written their favorite short stories with it:
Write a scene where the first line is: “I can’t believe you did that to me.”
Imagine it as the first scene of a short story. What this will do is create two characters—with a past relationship of some kind—and a location in the world, somewhere. It will also give you instant conflict. Finally, it will help get you on your way towards writing an excellent short story (or possibly even a novel).
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