Conflict Exercise – Who is Fighting Who?


Time: 30-45 minutes


Action Step #1 – For your story to succeed, give your readers a reason to journey to the very end with you. This is where conflict comes in. Real life doesn’t exist without conflict of some sort and neither does life in your story.


Here are some classic conflict scenarios to consider for your story:


·        Relational conflict – man versus man

·        Societal conflict – man versus a social entity like a corporation

·        Otherworldly conflict – man versus spiritual forces (God, the devil, etc.)

·        Inner conflict – man versus himself

·        Physical conflict – man versus nature

·        Mystical conflict – man versus his technological creation (monsters, nanobots, etc.)


Write down an example of each one.


Action Step #2 – Now that you know what types of conflict usually show up in stories, which conflict type will work for your story? Depending on the characters, each story has certain conflicts that will and won’t work. You might have trouble incorporating a mystical conflict in a story about migrant farmers.


Think about a story idea that you have. What conflict would work best in it? Write down ways that your chosen conflict scenario could play out in your story. For example, a son learns about the father he never knew. With inner conflict, maybe the son is torn between anger and longing for a father figure. Relational conflict might bring the two characters at odds because one doesn’t desire to see the other.


Action Step #3 – How will you resolve the conflict? The situation builds up suspense and creates many questions in the reader’s mind. Before the book ends, your conflict must find a resolution. The resolution often depends on the characters and what you want for them. The resolution could be to agree to disagree. Whatever the resolution, it has to logically follow the progression of the story.


With the conflict you just created for your story idea, how do you see it coming to a close? Now, write down possible outcomes for the conflict scenario.