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Adding Conflict to Your Novel

Conflict is one of many key points when building a solid plot. Learn what types of conflict you can use to make the most out of your story.

If you’re an online essay writer or story writer, you probably know just how crucial having a conflict is to your novel. Without conflict, you’d have no plot and thus, no story. However, when writing conflict, knowing what type to use and how far to take it are key. Along with solid writing, the conflicts your characters face will carry your reader from one end of the book to the other. When done correctly, these points of conflict and resolution create tension as well as relief. These emotions are critical for getting your readers to side with your main character, cheering them on.

There are various types of conflict you use and using more than one can strengthen your plot. Just don’t overcrowd your work with conflict.

Man vs. Man – This is the most common form of conflict as there are so many ways it can appear in a novel. There could be a fight between a man and a woman, an argument or disagreement. You could also pit two characters against one another in a fighting ring. However, the most recognizable form of man vs. man would be your protagonist (the main character) vs. your antagonist (the big bad guy).
Man vs. Nature – Man vs. nature can take place in a variety of ways. Take Little Red Riding Hood or Moby Dick for example. They’re both faced with fighting off a fearsome beast. Man vs. nature could also encompass things such as a man going against the elements of nature. If he’s trudging along in a snowstorm that threatens his life, this is conflict.
Man vs. Himself – The conflict of man vs. himself takes place when a character fights internally. Things such as morals and having a conscience come to mind. There are times this may also include reasoning, trust, and faith. It all depends on what the story calls for.
Man vs. Society – We all have our personal views on things such as politics and the common law. The same thing goes with our characters. With man vs. society, man becomes an outcast due to his personal beliefs as well as him breaking rules most of society agrees to follow.
Man vs. Fantasy or Technology – This is a kind of conflict made for novels with fantastical elements. Currently, steampunk, dystopian and supernatural plots are among the hottest trends. In each of these, characters face conflicts outside themselves that they have little control over. Things such as avoiding technological advances, fighting off aliens, or killing vampires come to mind.
Learning what conflicts to use in your novel, who they involve as well as their resolution are key points when building a strong plot. However, as mentioned before, don’t overcrowd your novel with conflict. You may have a book with multiple main characters and each one may have his own conflicts, but sprinkle in some hopeful moments from time to time so your reader has a chance to breathe.
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