Kurt Vonnegut once said that every story is about a character who gets into trouble and then tries to get out of it.
In that sense, figuring out your central conflict is one of the most important things you’ll do as a writer.
It goes without saying that your conflict will affect not only your plot, but also almost every other important element of your story: your characters, theme, tone, and setting.
That’s because who and what we entangle with isn’t just the stuffing for embarrassing Thanksgiving-dinner stories: it’s the that drives every narrative forward.
One more thing: we can separate character conflict into . Has anyone ever told you that you need to put your characters through Hell?
That’s not because all authors are masochistic, but because it's also one of the best ways to develop characters in fiction. Imagine a situation where Character A accidentally stabs and kills a man through a curtain, for instance.
It turns out that human beings struggle against themselves, other human beings, society — and more besides, as we’ll find out. That’s the crux of this kind of external conflict, which you’ll find in many, if not most, books.
First, let's look at a few types of external conflict with examples. When we say "character versus character," we mean both the black-and-white (a robbery, or a Hero vs.
Horror novels often pit mankind against mankind as well.
That you see this kind of struggle so often in fiction isn’t surprising: we almost always need to navigate a sea of people when we’re trying to achieve our goals in life. Darcy in Particularly prevalent in fiction these days, this type of external conflict pits the protagonist against the wider society.