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Conflict sits at the very core of your story, it is what draws people to stay up all hours of the night, reading through blurry eyes. This isn’t surprising considering it’s human nature to gravitate towards disasters. They fascinate us to no end. Gossip, and drama keeps people awake in their office, and don’t tell me you don’t gossip. Everybody gossips at least occasionally.

 

Your main character should have a clear goal, with other objectives sprinkled in. Conflicts bring suspense, and tension along the path your character is walking. The journey to reach this goal should not be smooth sails, there needs to be a rocky storm, and hungry sharks toiling his/her every move.

 

The struggles of your character make the story feel relatable.

 

There are 6 different types of conflicts you can include in your story.

Man VS Man
Man VS Nature
Man VS Technology
Man VS Self
Man VS Society
Man VS Supernatural

 

You will have a main conflict, the most dramatic of them, but you will also have smaller conflicts thwarting your characters mission. I made an infographic to easily reference when you sit down pen to paper, and you need to choose your character’s next battle. Below this infographic you will learn what each type of conflict is, and with example how conflict is used in best-selling novels.

 

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The 6 Types of Conflict

Man VS Man

This type of conflict involves a struggle between two characters. This is an easy struggle to weave into your story, it can be as simple as an argument between opposing characters. Bring it to the main stage like Harry, and Voldemort in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, each character has personal goals they will stop at nothing to achieve. The tension between these two characters is unreal, their fight is engrossing right until the end. The reader inevitably picks a side, but they can relate to pieces of the whole situation.

Man VS Nature

When man is struggling against an animal, or a force of nature — such as a storm, you have a Man VS Nature conflict. Man has spend a lifetime attempting to tame nature, which makes this highly relatable to all of us. You can find Man VS Nature beautifully illustrated in the novel “Silent Child” by Sarah A. Denzil. The story is centred around a flood that tragically took the life of Emma Price’s son — Aiden. The storm has since passed, but the destruction if left behind infiltrates every aspect of Emma’s journey forward.

Man VS Technology

This conflict is where a character is in opposition with some type of technology. Technology can be computers, phones, vehicles, or robots etc… I’m sure you could get creative, and think up even more imaginative pieces of technology for your character to oppose. George Orwell’s book 1984, used technology to spy on it’s citizens. The city of Oceania had telescreens to watch the people who where watching it, and control their lives. Another great use of Technology conflict is found in The Giver by Lois Lowry. In The Giver technology is used to control the weather, keeping it stable for everyone in The Community. They also use technology to eliminate emotions, colour, and terrain to keep what they refer to as Sameness.

Man VS Self

Conflict occurring within the character is highly captivating. Every novel should have a Man VS Self conflict in their story. It provides a depth to your characters you can’t give them if they aren’t struggling to figure out who they are, such as we do. This conflict can be a lack of self-confidence the character needs to overcome, or a moral conflict between good, and evil they are confused about. Any sort of internal conflict is good, and will give your reader relatable flaws to connect with. A great example of this is found in Divergent by Veronica Roth. Beatrice Prior is forced to choose one of five factions to align herself with, but she is torn between staying with her family and being true to herself. The story follows her surprising choice, and how she grapples with her decision while wrestling a greater conflict.

Man VS Society

The man is out to get you, that’s what Man VS Society will have you believe at least. This type of conflict could involve a main character against a government force, or it could be Character VS Community. Community being the people whom you live beside, work with, buy your groceries from — your neighbours. An example of this type of conflict is illustrated in the series Tube Riders by Chris Ward. Mega Britain is ruled by a man known as the Governor who has the city under lock down, and the Tube Riders fight back in their own way by playing a dangerous game in the underground. Marta, Paul, Owen, Jess, and Switch ride the trains through abandoned stations underground, and they witness damning evidence against the Governor and their battle takes a more serious turn.

Man VS Supernatural

This conflict is not used, or talked about as much as the other types of conflict. Man VS Supernatural is when your character is a normal human fighting forces that defy nature, and scientific understanding. This conflict could be the main theme throughout your story, or it could be a smaller obstacle in the way. Ghosts, witches, wizards, and possession are a few supernatural examples you could use. You will see this conflict in the novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home, and is flooded with memories from his childhood that terrify him. His father’s friend committed suicide on their property, and unleashed a supernatural evil that haunted the land ever since.

 

 

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Conflict 101 Workbook

 

Now that you know all six types of conflict, and you’ve read examples to give you an ideas — it’s time to pick conflicts to include in your own novel. If you want more help developing conflicts you can get my Free Conflict 101 Workbook, which includes a guide for creating the conflict, and a checklist for your Conflict Evolution — where you resolve, or worsen the issue.

You can CLICK HERE to download your FREE copy now!

Crystal