Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The six types of conflict in fiction

I teach a lot about the role of conflict in fiction, which is vital because stories need things to happen and that usually comes out of conflict.

It is through seeing characters in conflict that we see them at their truest, when their guard is down, when they are fighting something. You can also develop a character through conflict: the meek little parlour maid suddenly becomes the towering heroine of the story Conflict also takes the story on: a school is to be closed, two friends fall out, a community is torn apart by an event. In addition, conflict can evoke a strong reaction in a reader and make for good drama.

It is said that there are seven types of conflict; personally, I would narrow it down to six:
Person vs. Self A person’s struggle with his or her own prejudices or doubts or character flaws

Person vs. Person The struggle with other people
Person vs. Society When the protagonist’s conflict extends to confronting institutions, traditions, or laws

Person vs. Nature The protagonist is pitted against nature (think Moby Dick).

Person vs. Supernatural - be it monsters or deities!

Person vs. Technology - maybe the machines will take over one day.

John Dean

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