Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Conflict: Shortcut to Great Writing

Join me on November 5th for a fun workshop on Write Short to Succeed.

Here’s a possible exercise we might be doing in my workshop at ICAN’s upcoming
Second AnnualTreasure Valley Writers' Fest at the Cloverdale Reception Center, Boise, Idaho, Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

This exercise is inspired by the newest title in my Hows and Whys series, Writing Conflict, to be released soon.

Conflict is the key to unlock great writing. Finding the conflict is also the easiest way to write anything. Every good piece of writing comes from the conflict in the story, article, whatever.

Examples: an article about fixing your toilet yourself, what’s the conflict? The conflict is in you need your toilet fixed! Can you fix it yourself? Even a recipe has inherent conflict. Will you be able to replicate the dish? In a romance story, girl lost boy, will she get him back?

In fiction, people often confuse conflict with other elements in the story. Conflict is not a fight between two people. Conflict is what led to the fight.

To find the conflict ask these questions:
What’s the problem? (Sewage all over the floor, need something new for dinner—not the sewage, broken heart that might never be fixed)
What’s the goal? (Fix the toilet, make dinner, get the guy back)
What’s the need/desire? (To have a working toilet, to eat, to be with the man you love)
What’s the emotion? (Frustration at the broken toilet, hunger, grief/anger at losing the boyfriend)
What gets in the way of obtaining this goal? (Can you fix the toilet yourself? Do you have the ingredients to make the dish? How does the woman get the guy back?)

An argument in a romance story between the girl and her boyfriend is the end result of conflicting emotions: she’s mad at him, but loves him, but hates him, but wants him to be/do/act get the idea. During the argument, there needs to be conflict. Does she really want to get him back? Is it impossible to get him back? In fixing the toilet, do you have the proper tools? In a recipe, do you have the right ingredients, or can ingredients be substituted? Conflict raises more questions.

Here are some scenarios for you to find the conflict in:

A weight loss article
Two women in a bar, co-workers after work on a Friday night
An article about travel
A person visiting his/her grandmother in a nursing home
A memoir about a relative born during a time of war

Have fun with this and remember there are lots of ways to add conflict to your writing.
Questions? Please comment and I’ll do my best to answer (and hope I can answer, hmmm...more conflict?).

 One successful result of writing short, Mild West Mysteries.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Three Awesome Books for a teaser of Book Sale coming August 6th!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

There will be over 20! authors selling their books at the Book Extravaganza this August 6th. A wide range of genres and styles will be represented, enough for any reader to find much to read! 
Many will be on sale or offering other specials. Here's three to tease.

Register to win a FREE copy!

Finding hope in all the wrong places.

Rebecca is a well published author. In her Christian romances she demonstrates why. 

And all her titles at the book sale will be ON SALE for only $10 each! Plus you can register to win a free copy of her latest work, Winds of Change. Find out more about Rebecca and her wonderful writing at her Amazon author page.

One Brick at a Time, a heart wrenching and heart warming biography you won't want to put down.

One Brick at a Time is Elaine Oostra's life story. She shares her fond and sometimes humorous memories of childhood as well as the struggles and pain of growing up with a mom who suffered from mental illness. 

Want some fun, fast reading? Mild West Mysteries abounds in thirteen cozy mystery short stories of the West as never seen before. 

Also, I'll be running a Buy One Get One of Same or Lesser Price HALF OFF with all my four titles: Starke Naked Dead, Mild West Mysteries, The Mall Fairies: Exile and Write Short to Succeed

For more about me and my wacky Idaho adventures, visit my Amazon author page.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

FREE Workshop Writing Conflict and a writing tip!

Yup, you heard right, FREE workshop on Writing Conflict: Hows and Whys. And a FREE workshop one time only. At the Victory Branch Library,10664 W Victory Road, Boise, ID 83709 on Wednesday July 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Why a workshop on writing conflict? In teaching my Write Short to Succeed workshop, I noticed a major struggle among newer writers. What was the difference between an anecdote, vignette and a short story or article or memoir? How to create a work that readers want to read? The answer is simple: conflict. Conflict creates the scene, the characters, the story arc, why a reader should read an article, and more. Without conflict, the writing fails.

Why a free workshop? Because Writing Conflict will be the second in my Hows and Whys series, the first being Write Short to Succeed. So the authors who attend will "pay" for the workshop by giving me honest feedback.

Here's a tip about conflict:

In any writing, whether it be fiction or nonfiction, short or long, ask yourself: What is the problem? Where is the problem? Is the problem obvious? Can you state, "The problem is...." or not? If you can't answer at least a couple of these questions you don't have conflict. And you have a problem.

How to have conflict in every word, sentence and paragraph of your writing will be covered in the workshop. Hope to see you there!

And authors out there in blog land: how do you see conflict? How do you use it? Abuse it?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Successful Writing Secret: Conflict in Description

My newest title, Write Short to Succeed inspired by my class: Hows and Whys of Writing Short, click on the link above to sign up for the next one night class on May 3, 2016.

We authors are always learning and stretching our writing muscles. So when I attended a conference recently, I was surprised by how many new authors struggled with a particular concept:


Conflict needs to be in every part of an author's work. This includes description. Description? Yes, description. Ummm, I can hear new writers saying, isn't description just describing stuff? Nope. Or at least it's full of conflict if it's a success for the author.

Easiest way to explain this is to provide an example using a very well known cliche: 

It was a dark and stormy night.
Okay where is the conflict here? Well, in the fact that dark and stormy nights are difficult and dangerous. However, it's much better to not rely on such obvious elements to create the conflict. Instead, how about:

It was a warm, bright, sunny and horrid day.
The twist with "horrid" creates a conflict. It raises the question of why the day is horrid.

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. Despite the warmth, she couldn't stop shivering.
Can you spot the conflict? That "she can't stop shivering" is a contrast that raises questions?

Or how about:

It was a warm, bright and sunny day. She hated such days. Too pleasant by far.
Her emotional response creates conflict. And perhaps a touch of characterization.

Or a different type of description:

No conflict:
She was a pretty woman. Everyone always told her so.

She never knew how pretty she was. When people told her how lovely her face, she never believed them.
Again, her emotional response raises questions, why won't she believe how pretty she is? This creates conflict and some characterization.

Conflict raises questions, makes the reader wonder why there is this conflict and makes the reader wonder how the conflict will be resolved. Conflict keeps the reader reading!

An exercise:
Spot the descriptions in other author's writing. Read through them with an eye to whether or not they possess conflict. If not, why not? How could a description have more conflict? Or if it does have conflict, how?

Authors, questions? Answers? Are you conflicted?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas romance short story on sale until December 13th! And a recipe!

On Sale for only 99 cents until 12/13/15 from Muse It Up Publishing!

Yes, it's that time of the year, Christmas reads! My novelette Christmas romance A Crispy Rice Christmas is on sale until the 13th! It tells the tale of a gal whose culinary skills are worse than lacking...

And for more Christmas great reads all on sale visit Muse It Up Publishing! Romance, mystery and more!

Now for the easy childhood recipe we all remember.  This recipe was the inspiration for A Crispy Rice Christmas, because one Christmas I decided to use red food coloring and here were the results.

No one would touch them. And a recipe my main character...well read the story to find out!

Crispy Rice Bars

4 tablespoons margarine, butter or coconut oil
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 16 ounce bag of marshmallows (fresh mini marshmallows work best)
In a large saucepan, heat the butter on medium heat until it melts. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows all melt. Remove from heat. Add crispy rice cereal and stir well. Using a greased spatula, spread mixture in a buttered 15 X 10 inch pan. Cut into bars when cooled.

Okay, now for the variations:
Add vanilla or rum or orange or lemon extract, a teaspoon or two.
Add a cup of nuts, or raisins or any dried fruit, or a cup of chocolate bits (or a third a cup of each!).
Add any spices you like, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamon.
Add 1/3 cup of cocoa.
Or be daring and trying a bit of pepper and hot sauce to the cocoa! Strange but good if you like it weird and spicy!

Readers do you have any tales of Christmas cookery disasters to share?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

JQ Rose on Cliches and Deadly Undertaking on my blog today!

Hi Conda, Thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m expressing annoyance with my bad habit of using clichés in my writing.

Writing and Removing Clichés by J.Q. Rose

For some reason clichés are not approved by editors when checking my stories. I don’t know why. It makes writing as easy as pie. These familiar expressions are as good as gold when it comes to taking a short cut in your storytelling.

Instead of writing a paragraph about how bad the storm is, I can just say the rain is coming down in buckets. The reader knows exactly how bad that is. However, after sending this in to the editor, the phrase will appear red-lined in the manuscript and a comment will show up in the margin gently reminding me that is a cliché. But seriously, if you have to describe how hot the weather is in a story, why can’t you say it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? That really does explain the heat factor!

When push comes to shove, a cliché is the way to go for me. For instance, when the coroner arrives at the death scene, why can’t he say the victim kicked the bucket? That’s so much more colorful than saying he’s dead.

It makes me madder than a wet hen when I realize I have used clichés in my writing. For Pete’s sake, I KNOW the editors won’t let me use them, so I try to be conscious about it when I write and re-visit the chapters.

When I was writing my mystery, Deadly Undertaking, I combed through every word, every paragraph, and every page trying to ferret out the clichés. Still and all, once in a while a cliché is missed and once they’re out there, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. To tell you the truth, I don’t always recognize them. So I submit the manuscript for editing on a wing and a prayer that I have caught every cliché and I won’t have the editor tearing her hair out when she reads it.

There’s no time like the present to change and recognize clichés in my writing. How about you? I plan to be as sharp as a tack when putting words down on paper so I can make it easier for me and my editor to get through the manuscript.

I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I am vowing to do better on using clichés. Just notice how much I’ve improved already!
# # # #

Deadly Undertaking
A handsome detective, a shadow man, and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.
Back of the Book:
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!
Barnes and Noble

Amazon Biography

J Q Rose is an avid reader, photographer, and blogger with blogs about writing and growing a vegetable garden. Janet and her husband are snow birds who spend winters in Florida allowing them to garden twelve months out of the year. Summer finds her up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her grandchildren.

 After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Sunshine Boulevard, Coda to Murder, and Deadly Undertaking. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband, Gardener Ted spend winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q. Rose blog
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

Rafflecopter Information:
Thank you so much for hosting me on the Deadly Undertaking Blog Tour.  Readers, you’re invited to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for prizes during the tour November 12-25. Find the Rafflecopter and the blog tour schedule at the Contest page on the J.Q. Rose blog. Good luck!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Write Short to Succeed: Quick, easy tips from my upcoming class!

Register here for my The Hows and Whys of Writing Short, Tuesday, October 20th, 7-8 p.m. Or go to and the Personal Enrichment classes for more.

A couple of tips for a sweet taste of my class:

Why write short? Because it's a free class in editing and writing.
It's an excellent way to learn to write fiction and nonfiction, both. Because ever short story and article are…short. Which means you can focus on all the elements of the writing, plot, description, characterization, the senses and how, where, who, why etc. You can experiment and play with different genres, ideas, formats, without committing to 400 pages of writing before realizing something doesn’t work. And most of the time it does work and gives you a finished piece to sell. It’s a writing course you’ll get paid for!

How to learn to write short? READ short stories and articles. 

The major way to learn how to write short is to read short. Read a lot, they're short, after all. Read stories in publications you want to be in.  Read a lot in your genre, but not exclusively so. Read magazines, anthologies, etc and published stand alones. Read the classics and the brand new releases.
 Want to know more? Attend my class!