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"Stir Things Up: Creating Conflict in Fiction" ONLINE with Brian Yansky

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Online Classroom

5/5/2020 From 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM


$49 for Members
$109 for Non-Members

This class was previously an in-person class. All WLT classes through May 9 will be online.

Registrants will have access to the class recording for one week.

Want to give your readers that white-knuckle experience?

Feeling tense as you read that novel? Chances are, this is because the writer has created meaningful conflict and is skillfully letting it play out in a scene. William Faulkner said, in his Nobel prize speech, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself” and who am I to argue with the great writer? But the human heart is in conflict with a whole lot of other things in fiction: people, society, government, the natural world, the supernatural world, to name a few. As writers we can use conflict not just to cause tension but to create and develop characters and create and develop story and complicate setting—in a good way. If we drill down into sentences, conflict can even be used to enliven language.  If your fiction seems to lose momentum in places or just seems to lack something that you can’t quite put your finger on, the problem might just be that you don’t have enough conflict or the right conflict. We’ll tackle this essential aspect of writing fiction in this class.



  • You're writing a novel in any genre.
  • The plot feels like it's lacking something.
  • The story isn't as gripping as you'd like it to be.


  • "Fabulous Information!"
  • "He related his information to other popular stories we all knew."



Brian Yansky is the author of five published YA novels and over a dozen short stories for adults. His last three novels were published by Candlewick Press  (Utopia, Iowa, 2015; Homicidal Aliens and Other Disappointments, 2013; Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, 2010.) His stories have been published in Literal Latte, The Crescent Review and other literary magazines. He teaches writing at Austin Community College.



Online classroom



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close at the end of Tuesday, May 5 at 5 pm. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit