10 Powerful Tips to Infuse Conflict in Writing

Conflict in writing

The magnetic pull of conflict in writing is undeniable. As authors, we often find ourselves entwined in the dance of creating conflict, of weaving it seamlessly into the fabric of our stories to craft a compelling narrative. Conflict is the lifeblood that nourishes the heart of every great book. It brings stories to life, ignites curiosity, and fuels the connection between readers and characters. As we journey deeper into the dynamics of conflict in writing, you will discover new layers of understanding about how to use conflict effectively, how to handle its pacing, and how to create a book that captivates readers from the first page to the last.

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Understanding Conflict in Writing

Understanding Conflict in writingAt its core, conflict in writing is the struggle between opposing forces. It’s more than just a mere disagreement or a moment of tension. It’s the pulsing heart of every story, the driving force behind every plot. It’s the mountain your characters must climb, the shadowy path they must traverse, the personal demons they must face. Conflict is the fuel that feeds the fire of your narrative, the wind that sets your storytelling sails aflutter.

In the vast world of literature, we can find countless examples of masterfully penned conflicts. For instance, in George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, “1984”, conflict takes center stage as the protagonist grapples with the imposing entity of Big Brother and the crushing weight of individual freedom. Harper Lee’s seminal work, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, presents a raw and poignant portrayal of conflict as it explores themes of justice versus racial prejudice. Similarly, Jane Austen’s timeless classic, “Pride and Prejudice”, revolves around the inner conflict between social norms and personal happiness.

4 Types Of Conflict Writers Should Know - Naomi Beaty

4 Types Of Conflict Writers Should Know – Naomi Beaty

Each of these books brilliantly showcases the power and impact of conflict in writing. They serve as vivid reminders of how conflict can shape characters, drive narratives, and hook readers. Spend some time with these novels, delve into their pages, immerse yourself in the worlds they create. Analyze the conflicts they present and note how these struggles influence the trajectory of the story and the growth of the characters.

Types of Conflict in Writing

Conflict in literature is not limited to just a single form. In fact, it’s a chameleon, able to change its colors depending on the needs of the story, the characters, and the world you’re creating. Understanding the types of conflict in writing can open a plethora of possibilities for your narrative. Whether it’s an internal conflict that gnaws at a character’s conscience, an external conflict that pits characters against each other, or even a conflict that has your characters battling against larger societal norms or natural calamities, understanding how to weave these conflicts into your story can heighten the stakes and make your narrative more engaging.

Perhaps you’re looking to explore the depths of a character’s psyche, their internal battles, and personal demons. An internal conflict would be perfect for this, acting as a mirror that reflects the tumult within. A gripping example of internal conflict can be found in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”, where the protagonist battles with his guilt and moral compass.

On the other hand, if your story is set against a larger societal backdrop, dealing with themes of justice, equality, or freedom, you may want to use societal conflict. A fantastic example of this is Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, where the protagonist struggles against a repressive regime.

Understanding the various types of conflict in writing and how to incorporate them effectively in your narrative can help you craft a compelling, engaging story that resonates with your readers.

🎭 5 Intriguing Types of Conflict in Writing ✍️

Every memorable story thrives on conflict. It’s the engine that drives the plot, gives depth to characters, and keeps readers hooked until the very end. Diverse types of conflict in writing enrich your narrative, making it multidimensional and engaging. Let’s delve into the world of these unique battles, their nuances, and how they can enhance your writing.

Man Vs. Self: The Inner Struggle ⚔️

Often known as internal conflict, ‘Man Vs. Self’ involves a character wrestling with their own emotions, beliefs, or fears. These internal battles can range from self-doubt and guilt to addiction or mental illness. This type of conflict in writing adds a layer of psychological depth to characters, making them more relatable and human.

For example, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” the titular character’s internal conflict revolves around his obsessive desire to recreate the past and win back Daisy, leading to his tragic downfall.

Man Vs. Man: Clash of Characters 👥

Man Vs. Man is one of the most common types of conflict in writing. It refers to physical, emotional, or intellectual clashes between two or more characters. This conflict might be a disagreement, a battle for resources, or a clash of ideologies.

In Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the conflict between Atticus Finch and the townsfolk over the defense of Tom Robinson exemplifies this conflict type.

Man Vs. Society: The Outsider’s Battle 🏛️

In this conflict type, a character or group of characters challenge societal norms, laws, or traditions. This battle could be against a corrupt government, prejudiced society, or oppressive cultural norms.

Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” showcases this conflict type, where Katniss Everdeen fights against the oppressive Capitol and sparks a rebellion.

Man Vs. Nature: Survival against Odds 🌩️

Man Vs. Nature conflict portrays a character’s struggle against natural forces, animals, or the environment. This conflict type emphasizes survival, human fragility, and the awe-inspiring power of nature.

An example is Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” where Santiago, the protagonist, struggles against a mighty marlin and the relentless sea.

Man Vs. Supernatural: Encounters with the Unknown 👻

This conflict type deals with a character’s battle against unworldly forces, including ghosts, monsters, aliens, or even gods. It’s often used in genres like fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

Stephen King’s “The Shining” encapsulates this conflict, featuring a man’s fight against a malevolent supernatural presence in an isolated hotel.

Understanding these diverse types of conflict in writing will allow you to craft captivating narratives that resonate with your readers. After all, without conflict, there’s no story. So, keep those conflicts coming and let your characters rise to the challenge. You might just be surprised by what they’re capable of achieving.

Creating Authentic Conflict

Creating authentic conflict in writing is more than just throwing random obstacles in the path of your characters. It requires an understanding of your characters’ motivations, desires, and fears. When conflict arises from these factors, it feels real, significant, and engaging.

In literature, we see numerous examples of authentic conflict. Consider J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, where Harry’s desire for a peaceful life constantly conflicts with his role as the ‘chosen one’ to defeat Voldemort. Another example is in Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy, where Katniss Everdeen faces both personal and societal conflict while trying to survive in a dystopian society. Each of these conflicts is authentic because it stems from the character’s core beliefs, desires, and circumstances.

Creating authentic conflict in writing is about digging deep into the psyche of your characters. Understand what they want, what they fear, and what they are willing to do to achieve their goals. Once you know this, you can build conflict that resonates with your readers because it is deeply rooted in the human experience.

Conflict Pacing and Resolution

Just like a well-choreographed dance, conflict in writing needs to be paced appropriately. Too much conflict too soon can exhaust the reader, while too little can make the story dull. The key is to create a rhythm that includes periods of tension and release.

Conflict pacing involves the introduction, development, and resolution of conflict. It’s crucial to strike a balance, ensuring the conflict doesn’t resolve too quickly or drag on too long. For instance, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, the conflict between Frodo and the power of the One Ring is paced beautifully throughout the series, providing a satisfying resolution in the end.

Conflict resolution is equally crucial in writing. How your characters navigate their way out of conflict can be transformative, leading to personal growth, new understandings, or deeper relationships. The resolution of conflict in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a prime example, where Scout’s perception of Boo Radley shifts from fear to understanding and empathy.

Mastering the art of conflict pacing and resolution is key to crafting a narrative that will captivate your readers and keep them turning the pages.

Utilizing Conflict to Deepen Characterization

Conflict in writing is a powerful tool for deepening characterization. It can reveal hidden depths, test strengths, expose weaknesses, and spark growth. Conflict forces characters to make choices, take action, and face their fears, allowing readers to understand them better.

Consider Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games”. The conflicts she faces reveal her courage, resourcefulness, and deep love for her sister. Similarly, the conflict in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” reveals Gatsby’s single-minded devotion to his dream and his refusal to accept reality.

When you use conflict in writing to deepen characterization, you create more dimensional characters. These are characters your readers can relate to, cheer for, or even love to hate. By using conflict to reveal your characters’ true selves, you can make your readers more invested in their journeys.

Conflict in Dialogue

Dialogue is a powerful tool in a writer’s arsenal, and one of its key functions is to convey conflict. When conflict plays out through dialogue, it becomes visible, tangible, and immediate. Conflict in dialogue escalates tension, reveals character, and propels the plot forward.

Dialogue conflict in writingHow do we achieve this? Here’s a closer look at creating compelling conflict in dialogue.

Remember that real-life conversations often involve conflict. People have different opinions, wants, and needs that can clash. Reflecting this in your dialogue can make it more believable and engaging. To do this, each character in a conversation should have a goal. When these goals are incompatible, conflict naturally arises.

A memorable example of this is the exchange between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Their dialogues bristle with conflict, stemming from their differing views on class, marriage, and each other’s personalities. Their verbal sparring adds spark and energy to the story, making their eventual romance all the more satisfying.

Conflict in dialogue also serves to reveal character. A character’s words, tone, and responses under pressure can say a lot about who they are. Remember Scarlett O’Hara’s fiery exchanges with Rhett Butler in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”? The conflict in their dialogue not only propels the plot forward but also vividly displays their fiery personalities and their complicated relationship.

Subtlety is vital when crafting conflict in dialogue. Too much overt conflict can come across as melodramatic. Often, the most potent conflicts are those left unsaid, the tensions simmering beneath the surface. The unspoken conflicts between characters can create a sense of suspense that keeps readers hooked.

Conflict in dialogue is a crucial aspect of storytelling. It brings characters to life, drives the plot forward, and keeps readers engaged. As a writer, harnessing the power of conflict in dialogue can elevate your storytelling, creating memorable exchanges that resonate with your readers.

Conclusion – The Essence of Conflict in Writing

From our exploration of conflict in writing, it’s clear that conflict is an indispensable element in storytelling. It propels the plot, deepens characterization, and keeps readers engaged. A story without conflict is like a heart without a beat – lifeless and dull.

Understanding and employing conflict in writing can transform your storytelling. Whether it’s an internal struggle or a clash of titanic forces, conflict gives your story momentum, depth, and power. It challenges your characters, tests their mettle, and forces them to evolve.

Remember, every great book is built on the foundation of conflict. As authors, we must learn to wield it effectively. The power of conflict in writing is immense. So, embrace it, understand it, and use it to craft unforgettable narratives. After all, conflict is the key that unlocks the heart of a story.

Get the Workbook: Conflict in writing for $49.95

Richard Lowe

8 thoughts on “10 Powerful Tips to Infuse Conflict in Writing

  1. Zab Zaria Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this post and found it very informative! Thanks for these ideas

  2. Ntensibe Edgar Reply

    Hhhhmmm….I have a weakness here. I don’t exactly know how to balance conflict and it’s impact in my writing. More practice on it, may help, I believe.


    I am intrigued by how conflict can enhance character development and test the limits of characters. It is during these challenges that we witness the true nature of a character and their determination to succeed. As readers, we cheer for them to overcome their obstacles and achieve victory.

  4. beeb Reply

    Writing compelling conflict is something every writer should know how to do. Thst`s why Im here.

  5. Beth Reply

    Yes, The key to successful storytelling is creating conflict. Thank you for the tips

  6. Nyxie Reply

    My personal favourite is man v himself. I love internal angst and drama to contend with. It’s a great outlet!

  7. Heather Reply

    There are more types of conflict than I realized. I appreciate the examples of each to explain them in depth.

  8. Debbie Reply

    Great explanation of conflict in writing. I like the example of The Hunger Games” trilogy, where Katniss Everdeen faces both personal and societal conflict while trying to survive in a dystopian society

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