We’ve all experienced the difference between a story that grabs and holds our attention and one that does not. What makes for this difference? Are there tried and true techniques – no matter what our chosen genre – that can intensify the drama of our stories? This four-week course will explore one such technique: literary conflict. By analyzing a variety of examples from diverse eras and genres, we will look at how this technique has been used by writers down the ages, from ancient dramas to contemporary fiction, plays, films, and television dramas, even in non-fiction histories, biographies, and memoirs.
We’ll ask: What is it? Why is it? and, How does it relate to other storytelling approaches and techniques? Along the way we’ll also explore the value of storytelling as such, and the essential role of literary conflict. In lectures and exercises we’ll isolate its specific elements, practice applying it to our own stories, and discuss some surprising theoretical points about why it works, and why this tool should be in any writer’s toolbox.
About Phil Holland
Philip Holland, Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at Emerson College, has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Cottonwood, Artisan, and The Worcester Review, among others. He was a finalist in the 2012 Glimmer Train Short Fiction Award, and his story "Mentor" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is also an interdisciplinary instructor for the MFA program at Lesley University, where he teaches a workshop in flash fiction and has supervised independent studies in beginning to advanced fiction writingRegister