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Bring It: How to Add Conflict to Your Story

with Joshua Mohr

Two Saturdays
11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Pacific)
March 2 and 9, 2019

There’s one thing all writers need in their stories: conflict. It’s the propulsive element that elevates the work’s tension and drama. So how do we tell when a work-in-progress has enough heat on the page to arouse the curiosity of a reader? In this two-day online seminar for fiction and nonfiction writers, we’ll talk about techniques to generate dramatic action. We’ll ponder how to establish and nurture our protagonist’s internal and external stakes, all the while making sure we’re putting the right obstacles in their path to impede their journey. The seminar will feature a range of influences, from the modernists to pieces published last week. Great works of art all have conflict thrumming through their pages, and students will leave our time together with a deep understanding of how to maximize the dramatic opportunities in their stories. 

This class is open to students of all levels and will meet online in real time using the Zoom platform. We will contact you with details closer to the date of the class.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$130 for new students; $120 for returning students

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Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, came out in 2017.


“Joshua Mohr was a very positive and motivating instructor, and his 'Narrator as Cinematographer' online seminar encouraged me to think about the boundaries of point of view—and then to find ways to move beyond those boundaries (in fiction as well as nonfiction).” —Wendy Fontaine



"By turns raw and tender, [Sirens] not only chronicles a man's literary coming-of-age. It also celebrates the power of love while offering an uncensored look at the frailties that can define—and sometimes overwhelm—people and their lives. An entirely candid, compelling memoir of addiction and the long, fraught road of recovery." Kirkus Reviews

"All This Life shifts deftly between dark comedy and pathos, often holding both within a single moment. The ingeniousness of the book is that its form follows its content: The novel is structured on the big and small connections between people, just like the social networks it discusses... Rendered with a colorful intricacy and subversive spirit, All This Life shows us San Francisco as it vanishes under the spell of social media. Mohr is a perceptive chronicler of how we live, feel—and avoid feeling—this very minute." —San Francisco Chronicle

“Not many authors can shift from satire to sentiment so easily, but Mohr is a clever enough writer that he manages to pull this off. His ear for comic dialogue rescues his scenes and lifts up his novel again and again. As the plot in Fight Song becomes increasingly surreal, it gets funnier, and the emotional veins it taps into grow more real and textured. The novel becomes a kind of parable, a story of man searching for redemption.” —Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

"The author's jaunty voice [is] Beat-poet cool . . . [Damascus] nails the atmosphere of a San Francisco still breathing in the smoke that lingers from the days of Jim Jones and Dan White, a time when passionate ideologies and personal dysfunction intermingled and combusted." —New York Times Book Review