The Conflict Thesaurus Is Coming–in just a few days


The Conflict Thesaurus tackles all the ways conflict can be used to build tension, push the story forward, raise stakes, and pressure characters to do whatever it takes to win. The guide dives into over 100 conflict scenarios and how each can be adapted to challenge a character inside and out. Problems, Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, Challenges…say goodbye to writer’s block, weak plots, and unmotivated characters. If you need help in any of these areas, check it out….soon….very soon.

The Conflict Thesaurus

The Conflict Thesaurus Cover LARGE EBOOK-1

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have done it again!  The pair that brought you  The Emotion Thesaurus and its companion edition Emotion Amplifiers  have been hard at work on yet another thesaurus to make writing just a little bit easier for writers, and more realistic for readers. Think it’s too good to be true? If you do check the master list of its contents by clicking or tapping on this link below. #writing #amwriting

Writers, a NEW Thesaurus Writing Guide is coming soon (October 12th). Want to know what the Conflict Thesaurus is about? Just go here: #writing #amwriting

Want to know what to expect?. Here’s a bit just to wet your literary taste buds.


Inside Volume 1 of The Conflict Thesaurus, you’ll find:

  • A myriad of conflict options in the form of relationship friction, failures and mistakes, moral dilemmas and temptations, pressure and ticking clocks, and no-win scenarios

  • An analysis of each scenario that maps out possible complications and catastrophes, internal struggles, and the stressful impacts on a character’s basic human needs 
  • Guidance on using conflict to influence your protagonist’s character arc through opportunities for failure and success

  • Master class instruction on internal conflict: what it is, why it’s important, and how to incorporate it at the scene and story levels

  • Information about the role conflict plays in generating high stakes that are personally significant to the character, upping the tension for readers

  • A breakdown of the various adversaries your character might encounter along the way

If you took a good look at the (and Angela & Becca hope you did) you’ll notice that it said “Vol. 1”. Its companion volume is slated to come next fall. So, they are hoping Volume 1. will help tide you over till next fall.

The Conflict Thesaurus will released October 12th 2021.

If you need a little conflict in writing, The Conflict Thesaurus Vol. 1 is just what you need.

Get yours on October 12th  Conflict-Thesaurus-Release-1cause on the 13th they may be all gone.    1c858380843176bc0fa19d8642cf4aaf

Star Trek The Motion Picture


I read the 40th anniversary edition which was originally written in 1979.

Gene Roddenberry may have created Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He may have been the driving force behind almost every incarnation of Star Trek. But he had no idea what should, and shouldn’t go into a book. He should of stuck to writing teleplays and scripts.

I didn’t get the opportunity to see the wide screen version of Star Trek The Motion Picture until a few years ago. Prior to that I had to tolerate the VHS “Special Edition”. I wasn’t overly impressed with with it, and I knew I wasn’t alone. So, when I got the book I foolishly thought it might be better.

Oh my god...its Spock

Paramount studios had no-end of trouble with the film and Roddenberry. Roddenberry was constantly submitting ideas for the film that were very poor. Enter Harold Livingston and Alan Dean Foster. They were employed by Paramount to try and improve Roddenberry’s ideas. In the end few people associated with the film enjoyed the experience. Roddenberry’s script was tossed out, and the screenplay was written by Harold Livingston. The story was written by Alan Dean Foster who already had a few Star Trek novels to his name. All Roddenberry could do now was complain by writing a mountain of memos each day which were pretty well ignored. Part of the merchandizing of the film was the “novelization” of the film. Roddenberry took that job because nobody else wanted to do it, and it would be his last chance to make money off the film he wanted to see released.

Close to the beginning of the book an Admiral dies. This character was never in the script or any version of the released film. The book takes dialogue from a specific character and assigns it to a different character. As you read on you see area were he could have inserted dialogue. He wasted every chance and even re-wrote what is the released film. The book is supposed to be the written version of the released film. The books strays so far that I think the book and the theatrical version of the film that was initially released are two different stories. Close but slightly different.  It’s a book that had I had hoped would be a lot better, and would fill in a lot of gaps from the poorly edited film. Well, the only thing the book did was make me regret I purchased it. I suppose it’s a piece of Star Trek history, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a blind man. 

Balance Out Your Writing


I just finished writing a review for an author who published her first book. I was far from thrilled with it. You don’t need to know the name of the book or the name of the author. Chances are you’ve come across a book where the writing is uneven. In this book she described every scene in almost painful detail, but there was precious little dialog. In my review, which she called “strangely detailed”, I tried to get across the idea that a book, short story, etc. is like a layer cake. One layer is called description while others are called setting, pace, dialog,  etc.  A good book will have equal portions of all these components.


A good story will enthrall you. You will want to turn the page to see what happens to the main character. You’ll become emotionally invested in the story and you’ll care about what happens to the main character. Chapter 1 was great. It took me back to the time when I was a boy at my parents cottage. I loved it. However, Chapter 2 was a complete change in direction. It was cold, dark and foreboding. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that made any connection to chapter 1. A woman was on a train at night and there seemed to be a number of persons who wished her ill. All that chapter did was remind me of how much I dislike train travel in Canada. Chapter 1 had only had thirteen words of dialog while it had hundreds of words of description . Chapter 2 had considerably more dialog, however, the sentences were rather short bordering on microscopic such as “I don’t know”. But again it was heavily outweighed by the the level of description of the train car, the conductor, guns, and shadows. This could have been a wonderful opportunity to write what this character was thinking. But the opportunity was squandered. The second chapter could have provided a link of some kind to the first chapter. It didn’t. I told the author I got the feeling chapter 1 and chapter 2 could have come from two different books. I suspect that comment wasn’t  terribly well received, but the author asked for my thoughts. It wasn’t until chapter 9 that the woman on the train and the main character met up. It was at this point I gave up on this book. I wanted to complete it, and I tried three separate times to read this book. If some of the writing doesn’t move the story along edit it out. Think of the reader. If what you’ve written isn’t essential to the story, and doesn’t move it along, edit it out. Your readers will thank you. I know one personally, me.


Review of Blood Red Dust & War Over Dust

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(Book photos care of Amazon)

I promised the author, Stuart Aken, I’d do a review of these books. I have been putting this off for so long Stuart has probably given up hope of ever seeing a review from me. I liked what I read, but I must confess I had a difficult time reading either one. To explain what I just said I think I’ll let the author explain. “This is science fiction. It deals with a possible future; an unknown land. But the way language develops in writing can be partially predicted. The trend is, and generally has been, toward abbreviation and shortening. To give the book a ‘futuristic’ feel, I’ve adapted certain conventions. I hope you don’t find these too startling!”.

Blood Red Dust was a chore. I’m simply not used to reading a book that’s written in English that reads like a foreign language. Sorry Stuart. It was a very good read, but at the same time a frustrating one. I found myself having to re-read paragraphs to make sure I read every word. Some times Stuart would write, and a word you would normally expect to be written wouldn’t be there at all.  To draw an analogy it was sort of reading English from the middle ages. It’s English, but at times it sure doesn’t read like it.

This book is based in the future. The earth is overpopulated and climate change has taken it toll. Commercial mining is already taking place on Mars, but humankind must go to the stars if they are to survive. To that end a group called The Chosen are sent to Mars to populate the planet and take some stress off of Earth. But some people want the human race to end everywhere. And I think this is where I had the most trouble with the book. If I understood the book properly these people, an off-shoot of the terrorist group ISIS,  want to exterminate the entire human race. They believe they’ll become martyrs. I don’t know about you I hear about terrorists far too much on the news. And sometimes I want to escape into the pages of a book where I don’t have to worry about terrorists and being “vigilant.”  I hate hearing that word. I think I’ve heard that particular word more often since 9/11 than any other.

But one thing that did impress me was the research. Science fiction is just that. But science fiction is fast becoming science fact. Ideas that were total fiction thirty years ago are now fact. And a great deal of research went into both books.

                                    Zubrin (Still from YouTube video)

                                            Dr. Robert Zubrin

Some of the information contained in the books was based on the work of Dr. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and author of many books on colonising Mars. And the research really makes these books. When I read a book(s) and it makes you think “I knew that” it makes me smile.

The author lives in England. Thank you Stuart for presenting me with a challenge.

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                                                    Stuart Aken

Writing Vivid Settings + Writing Fight Scenes

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Now any of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know I don’t normally do book reviews. In fact in the life of Abitsa ( this blog) I think I’ve reviewed four books. So you may be wondering if these books are special. You bet your boots they are. Writing Vivid Settings is only 108 pages long, and crammed with all sorts of very useful information. Vivid Settings is a fantastic aid that I heartily suggest you put in your writers toolkit right now. I want to write a book that takes place in England. The problem is I was last there twenty-five years ago. Time has a nasty habit of blurring detail. Vivid Settings brought back details I had long forgotten. Have you ever tried to write about a smell? What about something you touched? Or the weather? (If any of you have that phrase “It was a dark and stormy night” running through your heads stop it right now). This book does something no others I’ve read on writing do. It treats you like a human being. It makes the assumption you don’t know  everything, and respectfully adds to your knowledge. It won’t and doesn’t throw terminology such as slush pile about without politely explaining what the term slush pile means. A lot of books toss literary terminology around like candies bouncing in a pocket but this one doesn’t. It treats you with respect, knows you are trying to learn as best you can, and when a literary term is used it is explained in plain simple English.

Writing fight scenes is great. I’ve got a Star Trek story that at present is work in progress. Capt. Kirk is about to do battle with a blood thirsty Romulan. And I had to come to a dead stop because I didn’t have a clue on how write a fight scene. But thanks to Rayne Hall I now know what I have to do. This book covers almost every single weapon imaginable. Swords, axes, spears, knives, daggers, magical weapons are all mentioned in the book. I haven’t finished it yet but I’m pretty sure sling shots are mentioned. I was prowling around her website last night and discovered that she has live-in, four legged editor by the name of Sulu.


These two books are well worth the price considering the contents are priceless. But wait there’s more in the Writer’s Craft series. I think at present there are 21.


OK. I’ve written about just two of her books, and you’re wondering if you should invest in a copy. Well if I could get the whole set my answer would be

                             You Bet!

Thank you Rayne Hall for telling me what to do with Capt. Kirk.

Goodnight Sulu.


Learning a little history

51WCn9OPQaL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_  It came as a really sobering shock. I used to be really good when it came to history. Now I’m really bad, or at least I think I am. I wasn’t bad at twentieth century history. But that was when I was in school, and that was so long ago. When we covered certain subjects they were simply skimmed over. Others weren’t even touched. The above book covers one those subjects were barely touched upon. “Dead Wake” is the title of a book by Erik Larson. It tells you the story of the last voyage of the Royal Mail Ship Lusitania.  I found it very well done. Larson writes in a way where he makes you one of the passengers. The ship was a British passenger ship, and to Germany in World War I that made her fair game.  The Germans also thought she might be smuggling arms, and that made her a military target as well. The British naturally denied there were any arms on board. The ship was the fastest on the sea at that time, fast enough to out run a German U-boat. But when the Germans fired one torpedo, and there were two explosions, it became obvious someone wasn’t telling the truth. Only in 1982 did the British admit there were arms aboard. With 1,266 passengers, and 696 crew members, there were 1,962 on board. She sank in 18 minutes, and most of the passengers were American. What did President Wilson do ?.



What are BCATP ? Just in case you think you think they’re the British equivalent to the Academy awards you couldn’t be more wrong. When my uncle Jim passed away five years ago all I knew was that he flew Lancaster Bombers. He hardly ever talked about his wartime experiences. And when he did it was just one or two sentences. Behind The Glory tells the story of the politics, the volunteers who flew, the conditions they had to deal with, and the antics the pilots got up to. I didn’t know my uncle Jim, who was a bush pilot when he enlisted, was re-trained by the Royal Air Force in “the British way of flying”. The British Commonwealth Air Training Program (BCATP) was interesting, hysterical, funny and sad. This book exposed Canada’s seldom talked about role in World War II. Both Churchill, and FDR called Canada’s contribution to the war “the decisive factor” in winning the second world war. Actor James Cagney made a film about the instructors in the BCATP. “Captains Of The Clouds” showed you what airmen had to work with in WW II, and some real war heroes too. But I suggest reading the book. It’s far more enlightening, and a damn sight more entertaining.


This tells the story of a truly horrific German bombing raid on London two months before The Battle of Britain. It takes you right there. You feel the searing heat of the firebombs. You feel the concussions of the bombs exploding around you. And you discover for the very first time just how close the world came to losing treasured landmarks. Cathedrals, people you learnt about in school were almost snuffed out of existence. Gavin Mortimer gives you a front row seat in the almost total destruction of one of the worlds most famous cities. It’s gritty. It’s gruesome at times. But it’s all real. It’ll help if you’re familiar with the city, but even if you’re not, you’ll feel for the people and the places.

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