King Leonidas I, hero of the film 300, is famous as the brave and inspirational Spartan leader who died in the powerful yet futile resistance against overwhelming numbers of Persian invaders. But how did his inspirational legacy spur the Greek-states’ alliance on to ultimate victory?

    Easiest ways to add conflict to your novel

    If you’re unsure whether your story is utilising all its sources of potential conflict, have a read through this post! It’s so easy to lose ourselves in our stories, and miss opportunities to create more interesting and tense situations that help our characters grow.

    When we get too deep into our story, it’s difficult to see whether it’s falling flat in conflict. Here are 4 ways you can make sure you’re keeping it interesting!

    Start from the character

    Internal struggle is always the best place to start introducing conflict into your story! What is that misbelief that holds your character back achieving what they’re meant to? Can they have a flaw or struggle that directly interferes with them achieving their goal?

    The side-characters

    They shouldn’t always be helpful. Or if they’re meant to be, maybe they shouldn’t start out that way. Scenes where there is no conflict of interest or at least some source of tension often fall flat and feel boring.

    So if there’s ever a chance to add a layer of tension into a scene with a side-character, take it.

    Make them work for it

    Your protagonist should rarely ever succeed at what it is they want, at least until the end of the story. Whatever big break-through of success they do have should feel like a reward that they’ve actually failed at achieving before, or have had to take lots of steps to grasp onto it.

    And sometimes, when they do get it, it’s immediately taken away or undermined.

    Raise the stakes

    Whatever your character is chasing, give them a strong reason as to why they HAVE to get it. What happens if they don’t? Whatever it is, to them it should feel like the end of the world. And then your readers will also feel that there is no other way for this character, and are likely to be more invested in their goal.

    Find it through the [link here] or below!

    When it feels like writing is impossible but you really really want to write anyway, just skip the bits that don't inspire. Write 15 openings of scenes and nothing else. Write that one emotional conversation with only the dialogue like a script. Write that one emotional conversation with none of the dialogue.

    Be so self-indulgent you almost feel over-indulged by the end.

    Sometimes you're torn between wanting to write but not having the spoons to actually do writing proper. So don't do it properly.

    In case anyone tried to whitewash your Battle of Britain lately. I present receipts of the countless Jamaican, Haitian, Indian, and Māori fighter and bomber crews in the RAF. Fully integrated.

    Furniture on board a ship

    Ships of the 18th and early 19th century were designed as floating gun platforms with an efficient discharge of guns. The fact that people also had to live there, and softly for years at a time, often fell a little behind. But at sea, people were clever and had furniture that was as practical as possible and could be folded up or stowed away as quickly as possible. At least above the waterline. The men didn’t have that much space and the first lieutenant didn’t always have a lot of room either. As First Lieutenant James Trevenen, HMS Crocodile, 24, guns off Cape Finistere, reported in a letter to his brother on 17 August 1781.

    Une Chambre d’ Officier à Board, by unknown mid 19th century (x)

    My habitation, then is six feet square, which six feet is now completely filled up as an egg. My cot in which i sleep is two feet broad (c.61cm) and fivve and a half long (c.1,65cm), allowing half a foot (c.15cm) on each side for swinging (and this is too little when it blows hard). I wish i had not mentioned the cot, for it blows hard now and bring to memory that i shall have a bad night’s sleep. Allowing half a foot then for swinging, my cot will take up just half my cabin and htere will be left six feet by three feet. A very small bureau will take up three feet square, and my chair and myself will pretty well complete the rest of the space. []

    Officer’s cabin with cot, HMS Trincomalee (1817), photo by  Simon Cotterill  

    It wasn’t much space, let alone much furniture. But most of those who held the post of first lieutenant had an bureau in their cabin. Everyone else usually had a lapdesk (writing box) to do their writing properly. In addition, there was usually a small table and a chair, and possibly one or two shelves with a border so that the contents did not fly through the cabin. In addition, there was the swinging bunk, the sea chest and, depending on their means, all kinds of furnishings such as carpets, curtains, musical instruments, pictures, books and so on. So one person’s cabin looked different from another’s.

    Mahogany naval chairs, 1795 (x)

    In the great cabin, in addition to the office, the swinging cot and possibly one or two chests of drawers, there was also a large table and matching chairs. Depending on the type, these chairs could have been foldable or simply solidly made. The table might also have had folding or unscrewable legs. But many were also simply solid.

    Admiral’s great cabin aboard HMS Victory - the walls are lifted up

    All the furniture was made of mahogany, moveable and able to be lashed and, with a few exceptions, was provided by the Navy Board as fixed furnishings.

    Captain’s day cabin abord HMS Victory (x)

    Private items also had to be purchased privately and brought on board. These included the lieutenants’ chests of drawers, washstands, sofas and harbour beds (these were folding beds used mostly in the harbour - Nelson had one of these).

    Nelson’s portable bed (x)

    If everything had to be cleared during a battle, the partition walls were hauled out or lifted up under the ceiling. All furniture and personal belongings had to be moved to the hold so that they would not be damaged. And hopefully they did, although it often happened that the good furniture was damaged. When the battle was over, everything was put back in its place and everyday life resumed.


    You guys ever see something and you’re like “ there’s a story in there?”




    Hilariously, this is a running joke about my dad, who's an aging science fiction writer. One cannot experience something interesting without him surmising this. He beta read my trilogy and I can't tell you how many excited comments he added somewhere along the lines of THERE'S A SHORT STORY IN THIS. Like ??? His imagination knows no bounds though, he's an inspiration.

    There is no shame in starting over. Or not outlining. Or writing slowly. Or using clichés. Or writing multiple projects at the same time.

    You are in charge of your own writing journey. It’s up to you which path to take, and none is less valuable than the other. - D


    The copper scroll is a fascinating artifact that will continue to tempt the imaginations of scholars and the public alike for centuries to come.


    There's a story in there! ☝️