Types of Conflict and How to Use Them in Your Writing


Conflict is a key element of many successful stories. It can be the catalyst for change and growth in your protagonist, as well as provide tension for your readers. However, it is not always easy to incorporate in a story. It is important to understand the different types of conflict and how they can be used in your writing.

The most basic type of conflict is character vs. character. This occurs when two or more characters find themselves fighting for contrasting desires that are completely exclusive of each other. This is the classic hero versus villain conflict that we have all experienced as children: Spiderman vs. Doctor Octopus, Peter Rabbit vs. Mr. McGregor, or the Pevensie children vs. the White Witch. It can also be seen in more modern works such as Lord of the Rings or A Christmas Carol.

In a story, conflict is often created through the antagonists. These are the people who oppose your protagonist and try to stop them from achieving their goals. They are often a group or organization, but they can also be another person or even an idea. For example, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is a conflict that affects the lives of citizens from both countries.

Other characters can also bring conflict to life by supporting the antagonists or by being caught in the crossfire. These conflicts can be as simple as a rivalry between friends or coworkers, or they could be on a larger scale such as systemic discrimination against women in the workplace. The protagonist can then find themselves impaled on the horns of a dilemma where they must choose between what they want or their duty to others.

There are other types of conflict that can make your story more interesting. Character versus nature is one of these, and this can either be a story about someone trying to dominate or confront the power of nature or a story about something that science or logic cannot explain (like Life of Pi by Yann Martel).

When using conflict in your story, it is important to keep in mind how much the protagonist has changed over the course of the plot. This will help you create an arc that is meaningful and relatable to your readers.

When discussing a conflict, it is important to remain calm and listen to both sides of the argument. This will help avoid escalating the situation and may even lead to a resolution. In addition, it is helpful to set up guidelines before starting a discussion so that both parties know what to expect. For example, it is a good idea to set the ground rules that all participants will speak calmly and be respectful of each other, regardless of their position in the dispute. This will prevent the conflict from spiraling out of control and potentially resulting in an angry outburst. In addition, it is important to be aware of your emotions during the discussion and avoid letting them influence your decisions.