Conflict is a struggle between forces in a story. Conflict brings change and fuels plot.
Types of Conflict Individual vs. Nature Individual vs. Society Individual vs. Self Individual vs. Individual Individual vs. Technology Individual vs. Supernatural
Individual vs Individual An EXTERNAL conflict that involves a struggle, mental or physical, between two characters in a piece of literature
A husband and wife disagree about how their money should be spent. Two little boys get into a fistfight. A boss fires an employee.
An EXTERNAL conflict that involves a struggle between the character and the elements of nature that are beyond his/her control.
A family is stranded in a snowstorm. A woman is unable to function because of illness or condition. A man is stalked by a wild animal in a forest.
An EXTERNAL conflict that involves the struggle between a character and the rules or laws that govern the society in which he/she lives.
A woman is in a hurry and runs a red light. A citizen refuses to pay income taxes since he disagrees with the current President’s policies. A teenage girl threatens to sue an athletic association if the coaches refuse to allow her to play on the boys’ football team.
An INTERNAL conflict that involves the struggle of one character to make a decision, take an action, or overcome a feeling.
A woman is tempted to steal money from her employer in order to feed her family. A man doubts whether he is or could ever be strong enough to run a marathon. A teenager is torn between ditching school with her friends or staying to take a test in a class she’s failing.
An EXTERNAL conflict that involves the struggle between the character and some form of technology.
A man struggles to program his TiVo/DVR. A teenager’s Wii stops working, and he can’t figure out how to fix it. A woman buys a new iPod and has difficulty downloading music onto it.
An EXTERNAL conflict between a character and a force beyond the natural, like magic.
A man fights to save a city from alien invaders. A woman fights to save the neighborhood children from an evil dragon. A group of teenagers uses magical powers to fight an evil witch who wishes to rule the world.