Does your story need conflict? Maybe, maybe not but conflict is the one aspect of a story that is sure to raise interest, cause a reader to take sides and, in general, portray a true-to-life situation. Much of our lives, from early childhood, have involved some type of conflict, be it sibling rivalry, teen competition, adult competition and rivalry for jobs, mates and other facets of our lives. So, to speak, conflict is a normal part of life.
Conflict boils down to five main areas:
a. Man against self: A person deals with conflict within him/herself when ones decides whether or not do “do the right thing”. Do I keep that beautiful ring lying on the sidewalk or try to find its owner?
b. Man against man: We are well aware of the conflict of man against man—just watch the evening news.
c. Man against society: People have fought to break from social mores since we lived in caves. There have always been do’s and don’ts, often called taboos. Women, for generations, were raised to believe that ‘decent’ women wore dresses. Now, that is no longer true, women wear dresses, slacks, jeans, shorts or whatever is comfortable or fitting for the occasion.
d. Man against nature: Humans have conflicted with nature since time began. The most notable conflict comes from the weather. We have conflict with dust storms, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, hurricanes and all other manner of foul weather that can be damaging or life threatening.
e. Man against God: This is the trickiest one, in that it assumes a belief in, or at least a grudging recognition of, the Almighty. No God, no conflict, no problem, right? No so fast—there are always forces that cannot be explained, whether they’re supernatural, chance or “dumb luck”. These areas of conflict are covered here.
The examples given for each of the five areas are meant only as that, just examples, not all-inclusive descriptions. Think about it. I’m sure you’ll come up with more, even better ones. If you have some that byou think will help other writers, please share them.