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On Writing: How to Find Conflict in Your Story

When I was in middle school, we had an assignment in our English class to read a book and give a ten-minute speech about it at the front of the classroom. *gulp* I absolutely hated talking in front of groups of people, even small groups. I was not only socially awkward, but an extreme introvert with a side of nervousness—the kind of nervousness that makes me lightheaded. I used to think that if I stood very still, like using a reptilian defense mechanism, people’s attention would pass over me (and I could slowly back out of the room). Not so.