Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conflict vs Crisis: Preparing for Nano Part 5

How do we keep the reader on the edge of their seats, turning page after page? We use conflict and crises. A book can have both, and most do. You can have a book without crisis, but you CANNOT have a book without conflict.

“Conflict is what makes a story worth reading. Without a struggle, a moral choice, tension, and opposing forces, a story would be nothing but a boring discussion of facts.” How to Write Conflict

The difference is that crisis is usually a circumstantial event or action, such as a car accident, a robbery, a break-up in a relationship. Conflict is the choices or struggles the character has to make, sometimes because of crisis. Conflict happens inside the character.

These are the Basic Types of Conflict in a Story:
  • Inner Conflict: The character is struggling within themselves, with what they want or what they do
  • Relational Conflict: The character is struggling with someone else
  • Social Conflict: The character is struggling with a group
  • Survival Conflict: The character is struggling with fatality
  • Situational Conflict: The character is struggling with a situation -- in this case, the character’s problems involve the interests, problems, ambitions and situations of others and their affect on the character.
  • Man vs Nature
  • Man vs god or religion
More websites on conflict and tension in fiction:
Fiction Factor—a list of essays on conflict.