fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Winter Quarter

Winter Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Creative Writing

WSP 332 — Lessons in Conflict: Creating Drama on the Page

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Feb 3
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 27
Unit: 0
Tuition: $255
Instructor(s): Ellen Sussman
Limit: 21
Status: Closed
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Feb 3
1 day
Drop By
Jan 27
0 Unit
Ellen Sussman
Most novels and short stories begin with conflict: Someone wants something and they can’t get it. Whether or not they want eternal love or Olympic gold, their journey is fueled by their desire and then impacted by the obstacles that get in their way. Conflict, the essence of drama, draws the reader into the story and keeps them turning pages. And yet, many of us have learned (or struggle to learn) to avoid conflict in life! How then, do we, as writers, turn around and create drama on the page? If we are socialized not to “make a scene,” how do we do just that?

In this one-day workshop, we will focus on the ways in which we can generate conflict in our stories. Once we’ve found that juicy material, how do we intensify the conflict and keep our readers interested? We will examine internal and external conflict in character, the subtleties of conflict in dialogue, and the acting out of conflict in scene-making. And we will look at plot as the tool with which conflict builds until it reaches its climax. At the end of this workshop, students will have new skills that will enable them to “go big or go home.” They’ll know how to make their stories both more dramatic and more substantial. And they’ll embrace conflict as the driving force of a story.

Grade restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade

Ellen Sussman, Author

Ellen Sussman is the author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She has taught at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Rutgers.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.