2 Definition Conflict: Any clash of actions, ideas, desires, or wills. A conflict can be external or internal, or both.A conflict may be physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, or moral, or a combination of these.
3 A conflict always involves a story’s protagonist (main character). The protagonist does not need to be heroic while overcoming their conflict. We may even find some protagonists are not admirable or likeable at all; they are called antiheroes.
4 How does it relate to plot? A story cannot exist without conflict.Conflict adds excitement and suspense to a story.The conflict usually becomes clear at the beginning of a story. As the plot unfolds, we start to wonder what will happen next and how the characters will handle the situation.The climax of the story is when the main conflict of the story is resolved.In short stories, there is usually one major conflict. In longer stories, there could be several conflicts.
5 External Internal Types of Conflict Person vs. Person Person vs. SocietyExternalPerson vs. EnvironmentPerson vs. FatePerson vs. SelfInternal
6 Person vs. PersonThe main character (protagonist) finds themselves in conflict with another character (antagonist). The character could be a human or an animal, but must be a live being. This does not have to be a physical struggle!
7 Person vs. SocietyThe protagonist is in a conflict against a society, or a group of people, a culture or system of set ideas. This could be the society they come from or a new/different one. Often times, the protagonist will disagree with the norms, or implied rules of that society/culture.
8 Person vs. EnvironmentThe protagonist is in conflict with their environment. This could be nature (weather, geographic location), technology, etc.
9 Person vs. FateThe protagonist is in a conflict against fate. This could include luck, God, spirits, or some other greater force outside of the protagonist’s control. Usually works unpredictably.
10 Person vs. himself/herself This internal struggle is a conflict that exists inside the protagonist’s mind. It may involve making decisions , accepting their reality, or overcoming other personal issues; psychological issues.
11 Watch “The Paperman”What is the main conflict driving this story?What kind of conflict is it?What is the climax?
12 “Death by Scrabble” By Charlie Fish Read this short story. What is the main conflict? What other types of conflict exist in the story, what are they?
13 Study Guide Questions for “Death by Scrabble” List five events (conflicts) that are part of the story’s “rising action”. What types of are conflicts are they?Explain the significance of the scrabble words the narrator’s wife plays. How do they relate to his thoughts and actions. Cite one specific example to support your answer.What is the climax of this story? Explain why.
14 Tying it all togetherHow can an author’s conflict choices create a better story or make a bigger impact on the reader?