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=Char= Conflict

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3/4/2013 23:14:09   

I have always been told that a great story does depend on the crucial aspect of conflict. It has been frequently stressed that conflict and the impending resolution is what drives the story forward and what gives the protagonist motivation to go on whatever epic quest that the author assigns him. However, I'm unsure if I have firm grasp of what it means to introduce conflict into a story.

Are there other forms of conflict, besides that between the protagonist and the antagonist, that we can add into our stories to make them more interesting? Also, should every chapter contain at least a subtle hint of conflict?
AQ  Post #: 1
3/5/2013 22:35:42   
ND Mallet
Legendary AK!!!

There are many forms of conflict. Either against another, against nature or against one's self and even a combination of any of those. So instead of having your character fight against a villain or monster, he could be stuck in the middle of a harsh blizzard, fighting for his life against the cold. He could also be fighting his own morality. Say for example that he accidentally hurt an innocent while fighting a monster. He'd have to come to terms that it was an accident and move on or he'd be stuck in a position where he no longer wishes to fight for fear of harming others.

Also, you don't need to add conflict in each chapter. Sometimes you have to do nothing in the chapter so you can set some ground details for advancing the plot or setting up conflict.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 2
3/5/2013 23:40:00   

Conflict comes in many forms, as ND Mallet pointed out. Focusing in on whether it's necessary to have in each segment, though, I'd contest that no, it's not. Life is filled with our own personal conflicts; we are the hero of our own stories, after all. However, life has plenty of times without conflict. Likewise, a lack of conflict in a segment adds that much more depth and complexity to the characters and concepts involved. It's what helps flesh it out into something real, something tangible, because it reflects life.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 3
4/13/2013 17:38:18   
Eukara Vox
Legendary AdventureGuide!

One of my favourite forms of conflict is internal. I usually stress this when I each writing, for having some form of personal, deep and internal conflict going on will add so much dimension to a story.

Maybe I just enjoy torturing my characters, but I find that when I have something inside of them causing conflict it makes other external conflicts more intense, forcing the character to do something they may not want to because of what is churning inside.

Take Eukara Fyrel. She is a character I have (the original Eukara) in a book I am working on. She has a heritage that is unknown, which is one of her internal, and external, conflicts. She knows she is different. She is compelled by something to act in ways you and I would find disturbing, and one other character in the story is very aware of it. This issue causes her grief, anxiety, pain and loneliness. And she has to deal with it while she is dealing with all the other crud she is faced with outside of herself. She has neglected her dragon because of it, she has neglected friends because of it. And although they all understand, it tears her up inside.

I can use this as much or as little as I want to. But any time this internal issue comes up, it complicates everything, and makes detail and events all the better.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 4
4/19/2013 12:33:21   
Chaosweaver Amon

I personally believe, that there should be a sense of conflict in every sentence whether noticeable or not. It could be a Protagonist against themselves, or protagonist against a villain of sorts, protagonist vs nature, etc. Conflict is more common than many people tend to take note of, making a minor decision in writing could be counted as conflict I think.

Conflict helps sort out the emotional balance of characters, you get to know them better with what they argue about, and who or what they argue with. Even simple observations, say a forest, if you create an opinion on it; you are conflicting with yourself about what it will be, even if it comes at a moment's notice.

Moral conflict, and physical conflict aren't very different most times, when it comes down to the principle of it. Say you are writing a swordfight scene; your protagonist has so many conflicts; how to attack, defend, should they try to kill their opponent, or not, if they think they should fight it through, and many, many others, some not even relevant to the swordfight itself. Like what they may be fighting for, why they are fighting this person in particular, what will happen if they defeat the opponent or get defeated, etc.

In short, I think entire stories are made out of conflict, even when we don't intentionally write them.
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 5
4/30/2013 21:29:51   
Rune Knight

Internal conflicts would definitely be my preference. For a hero to conquer a seemingly unstoppable villain is certainly entertaining, but rarely can you find a story in which such external conflict can match in complexity a character's internal struggle. In some cases, it can be a more arduous and inspiring journey than a more literal and external one. The struggle between the opinions of a corrupt society and a young boy's conscience makes Huckleberry Finn, in my opinion, a powerful character more so than such renowned heroes as Odysseus and Hercules. It can also be very easy for audiences to relate to such struggles because we have all found ourselves in such places throughout our lives, and we have all needed to struggle in order to test our own morals and uncover just who we really are.

That is one reason why I am far more interested in my new story, He Who Stands Between, than my older one. Faerdin has been taught his entire life that nature itself is a thing to be subjugated, and that keeping it in line is far more important than saving a human life... What will happen when he happens to meet a wise old mage, far more experienced in magic than he or any member of their order is, who claims the very opposite to be true? What will happen when his determination to adhere to the Rune Knights' ways results in complete and utter failure?
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 6
4/30/2013 21:48:39   
Wolf Rider

In your example, Trainz, you define conflict as being external. This is a very common form of conflict, and is the type that provides the reader with a thrill. The excitement of the battle. The desire on both sides to win. But internal conflict, in my opinion, allows for more room for a character to grow. Which makes it, again in my opinion, the more crucial of the two conflicts. It is very possible to write an entire story without there being a single occurrence of external conflict, and have in fact done so. There was no enemy to fight, no weather hazards. The entire conflict was internal. The narrator (as the story was first person) was fighting with himself/herself to reach a destination that was not desired. Because if he or she reached that destination, an ugly truth, ignorable so far, one that could be pretended to not exist, would have to be faced. Reaching that final destination, however, was crucial for the narrator to acknowledge the truth, and eventually heal.

Does it have to be in every segment of your story? No, I don't believe it does. I disagree with Chaosweaver Amon that every sentence should have some form of conflict (to use your statement as a convenient example, I mean no offense). While it should be in your story, and I cannot think of any story where there was not some form of conflict, be it internal or external, I don't think it needs to be so prevalent as to be in every sentence. Take your character taking a nap, for example. It is possible to make it a form of conflict. Say your character is in physical pain, or is trying to avoid discussing something. In that, it is your character against either the pain or the unwanted discussion. But sometimes a nap is just a nap, with no underlying reasons behind it. :P

So, yes, conflict is important, whether internal or external. It can, and I think very often is, an important way to develop a character, making that person more realistic. But I also feel that, like everything, it should be present in moderation. Too much of a good thing, after all, is still too much.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 7
5/1/2013 18:46:12   

There are some things I agree with you on Gingkage but you fail to see just how much more powerful a conflict is when it is both external and internal. Such a conflict causes a character to grow and where all sorts of moral issues can be found. A grey vs. gray morality is closer to the real world, allowing it to connect to the reader more easily(cause after all how many of us an claim to be better than everyone else morally?). Take a common theme of a family member or someone else very close to the protagonist being closely tied to an antagonist, the protagonist needs to figure out just what they are to do with the character while they have arguments at best and full on fighting at worst.

Conflict itself can be in every chapter, while not necessary, a good conflict develops a character more than just by causing the character themselves to change. Conflict can even force a character to remember something that happened to them earlier in their lives, giving new details into the character, changing the reader's perception of the character without actually changing the character's current existence. Focusing your conflict solely in a single chapter each and every time just limits the way the conflict can play out, letting it take as much time as necessary for a conflict to resolve itself makes it better than having only one chapter per conflict.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 8
7/20/2013 9:40:47   

Custodian (DF)

Although I do find internal conflict interesting, I would also bring up the matter of world conflict or threat in which characters find themselves sucked into. I tend to find an overarching conflict that seizes the world and whose shadow may be felt and hangs about, especially when its origins are mysterious, most tantalizing.
AQ  Post #: 9
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