No Conflict, No Story

10 May

c3271b123118866908768e75f09da391At our last writer’s group meeting, we were talking about conflict. No conflict, no story, right? As mentioned yesterday, one of my favorite types of conflict is Character vs Self, but there are other types as well:

Character vs Character — usually the most common external conflict, and tends to play out in the classic good versus evil, with the protagonist wanting something and the antagonist doing all they can to prevent it.

Character vs Society — Hunger Games, anyone? Character vs Society is about a character going against the traditional views of the world they live in, giving the external conflict a broad perspective and consequences that can reach out further than just the character.

Character vs Nature — this conflict pits the protagonist against the forces of nature, usually in the form of a natural disaster or perhaps an animal or beast.

Character vs Technology — found usually in sci-fi stories, Character vs Technology is when the protagonist faces robots or other machinery in the way of what they want.

Character vs Supernatural — a stable in most horror stories, supernatural obstacles are what prevents the protagonist from their goal. This is also called Character vs Fate, especially if gods or other immortal beings are involved.

They’re all very basic definitions, of course, with a myriad of examples that can be tacked onto each. It’s interesting to think of the bare-bones of stories, what makes the skeleton of the book, like the simplest conflict. Moby Dick is Character vs Nature, Harry Potter has Character vs Character, Fahrenheit 451 is Character vs Society, The Night Circus is Character vs Supernatural…

What about your favorite stories, either ones you’ve read or ones you’ve written?


Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Home


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2 responses to “No Conflict, No Story

  1. Steven Capps

    May 11, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Cool post, I like using conflict in combination with thresholds as outlined by Joseph Campbell in the Hero’s Journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kris P.

      May 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      The Hero’s Journey is a fantastic guide in creating a story, too!

      Liked by 1 person


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