Online: Writing Conflict

Cate Kennedy

Wednesday 24 March to Tuesday 30 March, 2021, online

Full Price: $210
Member: $155
Conc Member: $135

We hate it in real life, but in realistic narrative fiction which involves characters we care about, it’s a necessity. In this one-week online writing workshop, Cate Kennedy will help writers explore how to take characters not where they want to go, but where they need to go: into the vortex of conflict.

This online workshop is designed for writers who want their work to feel enlivened with greater dramatic tension and compelling storylines. The group will look at how a story’s shape is structured around a central conflict, and how external and internal conflict interact in a story to create a satisfying sense of unity and momentum.

Is this online course right for you? Read our FAQ >

From the ancient Greeks to what’s on Netflix, this workshop will take a long-range look into what galvanises a plot and what a character struggles with. To develop these insights and skills, participants will engage in writing and rewriting scenes during the day.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  1. An understanding of how a story’s structural integrity is built around a character in conflict.
  2. The usefulness of studying and integrating the three arenas of conflict in fiction, and an entertaining, inclusive approach to integrating ‘dark’ material into storylines.
  3. Some keys and prompts to creating fiction which is naturalistic, plausible and compelling.

 Participant Requirements

Participants must have written short stories or have a novel in progress as part of their creative writing experience, and have thoughts to share about structure, characterisation and setting.

Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program.

You do not need to log into the course at a specific time. There are no live meetings and no Zoom meetings. You will receive an email with an invitation link to join the online classroom by 10am on the day the course starts.

  • Participants will work through several lessons, which will open sequentially over the first few days of the course (see course dates in the blue box above).
  • You can complete the lesson material in your own time.
  • This course includes short writing assignments and the opportunity to give and receive peer feedback. Some assignments will receive tutor feedback if completed by the deadlines provided.

Please expect to spend a minimum of six hours on the course, noting that the amount of time needed to read, respond to discussions, write, revise and critique will vary from person to person. We recommend allocating an hour a day to the course while it is running. By setting aside this time, you will get the most out of the course, and be able to engage with other participants and the tutor.

You can find out more about the course by reading our frequently asked questions. If you have any questions, please contact us.


‘Excellent course – perfect for my current learning needs. The combination of Cate’s well presented content and the well aligned assignments with peer and teacher feedback.’ – Rachel

‘It was good to have well-explained tasks with realistic deadlines. Having fellow-writers critique each others’ work was a fantastic idea. Cate’s feedback was incredibly well-considered. Reading her feedback to all the works was where the lessons were translated into practice. The lessons were gold and I know my writing has benefited. I’m already unpicking my earlier stories, rewriting for conflict, tension and drama. I’m very happy!’ – Claire

‘The material was incredibly detailed and specific and this was the most useful aspect of the course. I really appreciated how the techniques provided to create conflict were so explicit. It’s exactly what I needed to learn. Having to then interpret those lessons in your own attempts at writing short pieces made the exercises very valuable.’ – Susan

‘This was the best writing course I’ve done. The content was excellent, Cate’s feedback was encouraging and inspiring. I was very impressed.’ – Peta

More from Writing NSW

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