Conflict drives a good story. You can’t really tell a good tale without some kind of conflict in it. It doesn’t have to be a violent conflict. You can write a short story about two people trying to live their lives and interacting with each other, sometimes getting along, sometimes not. A conflict can arise in people striving to reach a common goal, but with differing ideas on how to achieve the goal. You can have many different kinds of conflict, some serious, some not so serious. It only means a difference in how people look at things.

In a mystery story, conflict arises from the perpetrator trying to avoid the consequences of the crime conflicting with the sleuth trying to bring justice. Conflict can be internal. A person trying to be good against taking the easy way when the easy way hurts others. You can have a person fighting with another person, a sociopath against society. You can also have a person pitted against their environment in a survival story. There are a lot of science fiction stories pitting a human against a machine, but that could just be a person trying to get a boat started while marooned on a island with no resources. The last form of conflict is people against either fate or the supernatural. Whatever your story, however, you need conflict.

Think about your favorite book or movie. What if there was no reason for the characters to do anything? It would be a dull story. Car chases and gunfights are visual displays of conflict. That’s why they are exciting. Without them, a good many movies would fall flat. A love story would be boring without the risk of something tearing the lovers apart. That’s conflict.

Conflict makes things interesting. Let’s face it, no one wants to read a story where everything goes the hero’s way. Your readers would get bored. You would get bored. Even your character would be bored when it comes down to it. We all like a little challenge in our lives. Challenging your characters gets them moving. It keeps the story interesting. That’s the purpose of conflict — it provides the challenge to change things. For the most part, change is good. Change keeps us from getting bored. Change is the natural order of things. We are born, we age. As we age, we change. It’s how you deal with change that makes for conflict.

Force your characters to change. It’s the best way to make a bland story great. If nothing changed, there would be no point in continuing the story. So bring your characters into conflict with one another. Push them to move through the plot of the story. You will like the results.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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