How to Use Conflict in Your Stories


Conflict is one of the most important elements of storytelling. It brings stories to life and makes readers want to turn the pages frantically to find out what happens next. It is also a key component to developing believable and relatable characters, as it forces them to act in ways that may make them uncomfortable or reveal aspects of their personalities they wouldn’t normally show. In this article, we’ll explore how to use conflict in your stories and why it is so essential.

Conflict occurs when people have different goals, desires or priorities. These clashes can be over minor differences, such as a disagreement on how to clean the house, or major issues like whether a person should stay in their job or move on to another. Often, conflict can be resolved by finding a compromise that meets the needs of both parties.

When conflict isn’t properly handled, it can cause tension and stress in a group or team. In addition, it can lead to defensiveness, a lack of trust, and even violence. To reduce the likelihood of these outcomes, it is crucial to recognize when conflict is present and then manage it effectively.

There are several common causes of conflict, including misunderstandings, competition and jealousy, power struggles, personality clashes, and miscommunication. Conflict can be difficult to navigate because of the complexity of human emotions and the way we communicate. People often don’t mean to hurt others, but their words and actions can create a great deal of discord. Additionally, a lot of conflict stems from misinterpretation of non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice.

To create conflict in your story, you can start by creating two elements that resist each other. This could be an internal conflict, where your protagonist fights with themselves, or an external conflict, where they battle the environment or other characters. You can then add in a catalyst, which is what pushes the characters to act. This could be an event that scares them, something they fear losing or something that will change their lives for the better.

Finally, you should have a resolution, which is what your protagonist works towards. This might be a simple compromise or a dramatic change in their situation. You should also think about your character’s arcs, which are their journeys of growth. Make sure they are progressing and changing throughout the course of your narrative, demonstrating that their conflict has had a positive impact on them.

By using these tips, you can add conflict to your story and make it engaging for your readers. Remember that conflict isn’t just about the plot, it is about making your readers care about the characters and their situations. By allowing your characters to face challenging situations and struggle to overcome them, you’ll make readers invest in your story and want to see it through to the end. So, get started on creating your conflicts and watch your stories come to life!