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ONLINE WORKSHOP: Avoiding Conflict Avoidance: Jump-Starting Stalled Stories



Cate Kennedy




Do you find yourself avoiding conflicted characters and potentially ‘incendiary’ scenarios in your fiction because it feels too risky, and does the dynamic energy of your story and its characters seem to suffer as a result? Creating characters with believable and compelling moral dilemmas or interior conflicts they are struggling to keep hidden fuels great plots, but first authors need to tackle their own internal conflicts about exploring such material. Bestowing ‘psychic trouble’ onto a character we have invented involves separating ourselves from these characters and giving them agency to act within the story’s frame to see this trouble confronted. In this course participants who find themselves with flat, uninspiring protagonists featuring in stalled stories which run out of steam will have the opportunity to take a fresh look at the work they’re stuck on and hopefully start to ‘unlock the block’.

A portrait of Cate Kennedy, a woman with pale peach skin and brown hair. She has blue eyes and is wearing a blue top. 

A portrait of Cate Kennedy


You will learn: 

  • to identify your own default resistance to conflict in a story, and how to address it.
  • To see the manifestation of a character’s central conflict or dilemma as a framework for ‘plot’. 
  • To pay attention to avoidance patterns, and turn the tables on them in your writing practice. 
  • Techniques for addressing writers block. 
  • To recognize ‘crises’ in your stories as ‘pivotal turning points’ which drive reader engagement. 

Please bring along the opening one or two pages of stories you are stuck on, particularly if you are baffled as to why you have reached a sticking point. 

About Cate Kennedy

Cate Kennedy is the author of two short story collections, a novel, three poetry collections and a memoir. She has taught extensively on story structure and is currently on the fiction faculty at Pacific University, Oregon, where she teaches in the MFA program. She is interested in all aspects of narrative writing, including how characters come alive for readers and how metaphor operates in fiction. In 2021, she is working on revitalizing and reworking her own stalled and unsatisfying stories. 

Not a Member?

If you’re purchasing a full price workshop at $215, consider a full price one-year membership ($75) plus member-priced workshop ($155) will cost just $230 and give you discounts on all our services plus a year's subscription to ‘The Victorian Writer’ magazine.

 And if you have a concession card, a one-year membership ($55) plus member-concession workshop ($135) will cost you only $190.

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Phone: 03 90947837
Email: writeability@writersvictoria.org.au

Registration for this event ended on 12 November 2021 - 4:00
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