Writing the Conflict You Know

Writing the Conflict You Know

What to write about, what to write? This was the dilemma facing me a few years ago. I’d written and published a traditional Regency and finished another which had been rejected. I wanted to try my hand at contemporaries but I couldn’t figure out what to write about. The old adage “write what you know” came to mind, but what did I know? Perusing the shelves at the local bookstore, I noticed a lot of stories about knitting, wine, cooking and other specific interests and hobbies. I don’t knit, I’m not into wine and I don’t cook, so what did I know that was worth building a story around?  I love books and movies but where’s the conflict there?

At the time, I was working at a large entertainment union in Hollywood. My days were full of conflict as I argued with producers and studios over various claims for violations of the union contract. I’m not sure at what point the obvious jumped out and hit me but one day it finally did. I knew about Hollywood and especially the conflict between studios and labor unions. I began to ponder different fictional situations until I discovered the one that would ultimately become my novel. What would happen if a lawyer at an entertainment union and a lawyer working for a studio fell in love while they were both working opposite sides of a major arbitration?

 Thus was born my fist contemporary novel Labor Relations, a story about two labor relations attorneys on opposite sides of a major arbitration facing a passionate conflict of interest. The heroine, Sarah Steele, is the newest member of the Movie Actors Guild legal team and new to Hollywood. The hero, Jake Rappaport, is the head of Labor Relations at Lion Studios, a veteran movie industry man enjoying the perks of Lala Land but wondering if there isn’t something more. There is an instant and powerful attraction between them but a personal relationship during the arbitration could ruin both of their careers.

The natural conflict built into their jobs combined with the conflict of their ideals helped me develop the story and keep it moving, providing many opportunities for creating bumps on the road to true love. Setting the story in Hollywood allowed me to use my knowledge of the city and the entertainment industry to give the novel its flavor. I had a lot of fun writing a glamorized, fictional version of tinsel town as seen through Sarah’s eyes.  

So, what can you learn from my experience? You can write what you know, even if you think you don’t know anything. Start by examining different aspects of your life such as your job, where you live, the groups you’re involved in and then look for the potential conflict in each of these situations. Once you find it, make it as big and threatening to your main characters as possible so that they have everything to lose if they don’t overcome their obstacles. Finally, use your own, personal experiences to make the characters, backdrop and yes, even the conflict, feel real and believable. By the time you hit “The End”, you’ll be surprised to discover that the conflict you know really is worth writing about.


mail4rosey said...

Wonderful tips, and congrats to you on being published. :)

Lanaya | Raising Reagan said...

That is so true .. write what you know!! That is amazing that you are becoming such a success Georgie!

Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

(¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

Linda Roy said...

Congratulations and thank you for the excellent advice. Also, thanks for linking up to the Monday hop!

Bohemian Babushka said...

Here from the Meandering Monday hop, and just today someone asked for post ideas. Naturally I'll be forwarding this post to her. BB2U

Anonymous said...

I love reading this! Such perfect advice!

Thanks for linking up! I can't wait for others to get to see your amazing talents :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there! This sounds like a wonderful journey to finding the plot of this book! I actually want to read it after reading this post! I have been thinking a lot about what I want to write on my blog and it is so funny that you mentioned the old saying "write what you know" because that is somewhat of the direction that I've started to go in for my blog posts and my business! Thank you very much for linking up to the Mommy Monday blog hop! Following you now on social media!

Sarah Honey said...

Great tips!! Thank you so much for sharing & linking up at Thank You Honey's Whatever Wednesday Party!

Rochelle Barlow said...

I love reading how you came up with your story for Labor Relations. I'm checking it out right now! It's good to remember that we have plenty of conflict in our daily lives that can lend themselves to our novels.

Marissa D said...

Great advice, we don't need to stretch into the blue to grab something to write about, what we know is more than enough. Thanks for sharing this with Cozy Book Hop


Stacey Gannett said...

Great tips...I have always wanted to write...maybe with these tips, I will give it a try! Thanks so much for linking up with This Momma's Meandering Mondays, hope to see you again tomorrow! Have an awesome week!

Create With Joy said...

Great advice! Thanks for sharing with us at Inspire Me Monday at

Create With Joy

Tina said...

I am such a sucker for back-story! Thanks so much for sharing this - it makes the book even more fun to read! Thanks for linking up with Booknificent Thursday! Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got this week!
Tina from mommynificent.com

Tina at Mommynificent.com said...

I just bought it and can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Looking forward to seeing you again this week!

StarTraci said...

Oh, that's awesome! I am interested in your book as I have years of acting in my past and membership in Equity.
Also, good for you on writing a book successfully. It's something I have always wanted to due but have never finished.