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:
- man vs man
- man vs himself
- 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)
What Is Conflict?
On Conflict in Description
- Writing Powerful Description by John Gingerich
- The Devil in the Details by Craig Clevenger
- Effective Similes by Chuck Palahniuk*
Conflict in Dialogue and Maintaining Suspense
*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.