Sharpening Skills with Conflict Corner!

There’s an exercise I’ve been doing lately to practice writing illustrations of conflict. Interested in opening the exercise up to the forums. The basic idea would be to take a slice of a random storyform and come up with different illustrations for conflict.

I was thinking of either doing A) exercises as if illustrating a whole chunk of a storyform, or B) simply illustrating a random element as conflict.

Method A:
Considering an OS illustration in Psychology, Being, Signpost of Conceptualizing…
Step 1: Describe the overall conflict with Conceptualizing
Step 2: Break that down using the PSR and illustrate in further detail considering PRCO, etc.

Method B:
Step 1: Illustrate a conflict for “Permission”

Any thoughts?
Any takers?


This sounds like a GREAT idea :slight_smile:

If anyone’s interested in doing this live with John, we’ll be doing it during the Writers Room in Subtext this week.


You know me, I’ll always play.
But would you like to give us a sample and clarification of what you mean by illustration?

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Illustration = a “gist” that defines the conflict of said Element.

Illustrating a conflict of Value - Planning things out in detail is a great way to make sure your idea is concrete, unless being rigid and heady about things stunts spontaneous opportunities.


Great idea! I really want more practice/understanding of this!

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Great class @JohnDusenberry @jhull ! Looking forward to continuing to practice this.


This kicked serious ass. Loved it. Looking forward to more.


So that went WAAAAY better than I ever imagined :smile: Not that I thought it would bomb, but just very productive and creative in a positive way - thank you to every one who showed up and participated.

As I mentioned in the class (where we went over writing a scene) - all the examples will end up being a part of Subtext so that, when you’re working on a story and you come across a conflict similar to one we cover in class (like Self-interest while Future in today’s class), you’ll get the examples right there in context so you know what to look for in your own story…awesome!

So, in regards to schedule - John is up to do these on an extra day, so that they would run in tandem with the Writers Room - Writers Room w/ me on Thursdays and then John is open to do Wednesdays (any day buy Monday he says!) at the same time (1pm Pacific). Please let us know below your thoughts on a schedule. I would love it if it was a time and schedule that everyone could attend - or if you just want to do it every other Writers Room, or once a month…there are quite a bit of quads to go through, so once a month seems slow to me, but that could just be me…

Let us know your thoughts - and thanks again!


Once a month seems slow to me, too. I find if these things aren’t weekly, they don’t demand enough dedication and tend to wither. But I’m not running it and won’t be on the hook if I miss every once in a while.


Ahh thanks Mike! That means a lot.
I think it’s a great exercise to keep our wandering minds focused on what really makes stories interesting.


Wednesdays at 1 p.m. Pac.Time works well for me. Today went well and I look forward to more of these. Thanks.

@JohnDusenberry This was phenomenal. I’m down for Wednesdays at 1pm too.

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Thanks John for this exercise, just watched the reply today. Its great, I really like it.

Just watched the video. Awesome stuff John. Definitely up for that being a regular thing!

I don’t want to take away anything from the subtext subscription, but could we get a summary for the non-subscribers like me?
Or is this something that has been done in the forums before?

Cliffnotes version:

Whatever term you start with (look above at @JohnDusenberry 's example to me for the term Value)

  1. do not use the word to convey the concept or build the justification. Build the justification much like we have been, two sides of the same coin.

Term used for the video self-interest. Justification development went like this:
Exercise is good for you
Exercise brings you joy (step makes sure the justification has an emotional note)
Looking too good makes other people jealous (emotional note on both sides of the justification)

  1. Add the layer above from your storyform, in this case Future so self-interest while futuring

Staying healthy and exercising everyday leads to a longer happier life unless spending too much time away from your significant other leads to growing old alone

  1. Use layer below term for PRCO
    3a. develop that with story/characters which suggest themselves.
  2. Make sure each of the top layer is represented. (Situation, Activity, Manipulation, Fixed Attitude)
  3. Check and make sure the problem quad is represented (in our example: Consider, Reconsider, Feeling, Logic) Early in the story you could breath on the solution (Reconsider), but not too much.
  4. Write! At this stage we had enough developed for most anyone to actually write a scene.

Wednesdays at 1pm work for me too

You can get a sense of what the class is like by checking out the Episode Notes linked from the class:

Conflict Corner Class

Future classes will explore all the other quads and relationships, and each will be available—in context and inline—with the story you’re currently working on. For instance, if you’re writing a story where Self-interest is looked at in terms of Future, notes and illustrations like this will appear right along your story for easy quick reference.

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I think it is slightly weird that the problem quad is within the Physics domain while the signpost is Future :thinking: but since it’s just an example, it probably doesn’t matter too much…

Also, I’m not quite sure how “Planning things out in detail is a great way to make sure your idea is concrete, unless being rigid and heady about things stunts spontaneous opportunities.” has much to do with Value

Other than that, I think it’s interesting how the example justifications are written.

I may be remembering this wrong, but a lot of previous examples usually showed the illustration parts of the two justifications being incompatible / mutually exclusive (e.g. killing an animal to save yourself vs not) and the effects being both positive/negative (e.g. surviving vs being a good person), whereas the examples in this don’t have that.

Here the illustrations are very compatible, if not implications/entailments/presuppositions of each other in the given context (exercising and looking good; exercising and spending time away from SO; planning things out in detail and being heady and rigid) with the effects being contextually positive and negative (joy vs making others jealous; longer happier life vs growing old alone; concrete idea vs stunting spontaneous opportunities).

It matters quite a big deal because this workshop specifically deals with the wound-up model—where the Signposts and Variations purposefully fall out of phase with one another.