Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling Novel

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Today's highly competitive fiction market requires writers to imbue their novels with that special something – an element that captures readers' hearts and minds. In Writing With Emotion, Tension & Conflict, writers will learn vital techniques for writing emotion into their characters, plots and dialogue in order to instill that special something into every page.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; 11/27/13 edition (November 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599637588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599637587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces

Customer Reviews

A book to keep by your keyboard

14 people found this helpful.
 on November 18, 2013
By Sis Steele
Those who have been lucky enough to take a writing class from Cheryl St. John know she is a born teacher. Her new book on writing, Emotion, Tension and Conflict, is an engaging, encouraging, and jam-packed series of lessons on what makes writing a novel work and how to avoid the pitfalls even experienced writers may fall into once in a while.


7 people found this helpful.
 on December 4, 2013
By Carolyn Woolston
Wow, I wish I’d read this 20 years ago! It’s a must for any fiction writer–clear, straightforward, down-to-earth, and with just the right dash of humor. Don’t miss this one!

Beginning writers read this book

One person found this helpful.
 on June 6, 2016
By Paul LeBLanc
I’ve worked in television for over 25 years, and decided I needed to write after having read a million scripts. This book has made me consider things that would never had occurred to me otherwise. It’s a well written and easily understood reference, one that I will read again, as soon as I’m done with this review.

Great reference book to use over and over again

One person found this helpful.
 on April 19, 2014
By Dee A. Williamson
I love this book! I feel like Ms. St. John was reading it to me. It is chocked full of examples, wisdom and experience. I believe Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict . . . to be one of the books that I will keep on my desk and refer to over and over again.

The One Book You Need on Writing!

One person found this helpful.
 on October 9, 2015
By K. Zook
This is one of the most effective books on writing I have on my shelf. Nearly every page is marked up. The exercises in it are beneficial in a way I’ve never experienced with exercises in writing books. Cheryl’s passages and the passages from other books that she uses show the reader exactly what she is addressing in her book. This is the one book on writing that I recommend to everyone!

Wish I’d had this when I first started writing

One person found this helpful.
 on February 3, 2014
l think this is one of the best ever books on the craft of writing. I wish I’d had it at the beginning of my career— for the easiness of reading and understanding the techniques many of us learned over the years. Cheryl St. John is generous in teaching all she’s learned and this is one book you’ll want to keep going back to. Mrs. St. John explains things in such a clear way, and gives wonderful examples of what she is teaching-and there are great exercises at the end of each chapter.

This book would make a great primer for some of the more advanced writing books

One person found this helpful.
 on June 4, 2016
By Jay
This book would make a great primer for some of the more advanced writing books. You know, the ones that give you migraines. Like Donald Maass’s awesome writing books. It’s good. It has helped me solidify some things I’ve learned in other Writers Digest training materials.

St.John: The supportive voice in every writer’s head…

5 people found this helpful.
 on January 8, 2014
Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling Novel by Cheryl St.John is to be the craft book on every writer’s shelf regardless of where they are in their writing career or what genre they write. St.John has a gift of writing with such an easy, direct, conversational tone, you’d swear she was sitting with you as you comb through page by page. With this book, a journal, and a few well known movies, you will go through the process of learning how to analyze plot, create your own, and produce a solid well written book brimming with emotion, tension, and conflict. She doesn’t just teach, she demonstrates, and even better,she has you demonstrate what you’ve learned. You will come out of this experience a better writer. St.John will be the supportive voice in every writer’s head guiding them through their pages with a gentle, experienced hand.


One person found this helpful.
 on January 10, 2014
By Charlene Sands
Cheryl St. John spells out the hows and whys of writing emotion, tension and conflict in an easy to understand way, along with many examples of authors’ works. I find learning by example a sure-fire way to retain the information. Cheryl does an amazing job in explaining the nuances of writing powerful emotion. Whether a beginning writer or a multi-published author, you will come away with learning something solid and long lasting. I can’t recommend this book more highly. A must read for any stage in a writer’s career.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on June 13, 2015
By The Cat Writer
This is wonderfully detailed, clearly written text to help beginning writers.

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