Weekend Links: Conflict

All stories, fiction or non-fiction, need conflict. Conflict propels the story. And if we can get a little grade school for a second, there are 3 basic types of conflict: 

  1. man vs man
  2. man vs himself
  3. man vs nature

So as far as constructing character arcs and narrative goes, your largest conflict will be one of those. But when you hear someone say “there should be conflict on every page” they obviously don’t mean there should be a tornado, fist fight, or self-loathing monologue on every page. Here are a few types of conflict on the ‘page-level’

  • dialogue vs interiority (a character thinks one thing and says another)
  • a common event or activity set in an unlikely location (getting drunk on a saturday night…in a women’s department store)
  • Description where tone of the descriptors contrast noticeably with what is being described (clouds shaped like… dismembered farm animals)
In short, conflict should not be limited to fighting or arguing. Try to think of conflict as ‘contrast’ and it’ll give you a better idea of how to have plenty of it throughout your… written thingy (I am really tired right now, guys). 

Okaaaaaaaaaay links!

What Is Conflict?

On Conflict in Description

Conflict in Dialogue and Maintaining Suspense

Opening With Conflict

*the document linked to here is actually a group of about 40 essays from Chuck and other writers that teach on Lit Reactor. It covers tons of topics and they are all interesting to read. So don’t hesitate to download the entire file. 

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